Thursday 1 October 2009

D&D Heroes Miniatures

Way back in April I read a great review of the D&D Heroes Miniatures range by Gnome Stew. Now The Evil GM has reviewed the same products and I decided to post his opinion here as a Guest Post.

"I've been looking at the 'Heroes' miniature sets - I was thinking about buying a few boxes to get a good number of decent quality stock models - and found myself wondering just who they [WoTC] were producing these sets for - because they certainly don't seem to be picked with the average playing group in mind.

Just some examples of stuff that struck me - a full third of the models are female, roughly one in every box of three. I fully support producing female figures both for female players and those guys who fancy playing a female, but 1/3 of all the models being female? I believe the hobby is still 90% male - and I bet at least 90% of those play male characters which means 81% of PC's minimum will be male - so why only 66% of the models? Most people will buy a box of three models and not be able to use one.

(Source: heath_bar Flickr)
The second thing was the profusion of races - by splitting models across Human, Elf, Eladrin, Dwarf, Dragonborn, Tiefling, Half Elf, Halfling, Goliath, Shifters, Gnome, Gensai and Warforged you only end up with one or two for a lot of very common races. Even worse they have 12 models for humans cutting down the options for every other race - but Dwarfs, Dragonborn and Halflings only get two, while Elves and Eladrin and Half elves only get three apiece. OK, Dragonborn and Eladrin are new, but they are core races in PHB 1! At least you'd expect those models to reflect the stereotype - the class/race combinations most often played right? So in Series One the only Dragonborn is a rogue - and a female one at that! In fairness series two has a male Warlord but that's it for Male Dragonborn - one model.

Halfling we know are the consummate rogue so the models for Halflings are Female Cleric and the only male character - a Barbarian. A Halfling Barbarian? What's it going to do, gnaw my bloody knees off?[I'd pay to see that - Biglee]

Dwarves favour Clerics and Fighter classes so series one gives us a Rogue - how many people think "hmm, I'll play a rogue so lets select the slowest race with a reputation for clumsiness." At least there is a Paladin which can double as a fighter or Cleric at a push I guess. This is one race with no female models which is a shame as I like Dwarvern women (not in THAT way!)

Maybe they [WoTC] think the stereotype models are out there, but if I was to design the first set I'd go for Dwarf Cleric and Fighter, Halfling Rogue and Ranger, Dragonborn Fighter and Warlord, Eladrin Wizard and Sorcerer (which in fairness are in series one) etc. Cover the stereotypes first, then start with your weirder Halfling Barbarians and Dwarvern Rogues. The female issue is more difficult - you need to put some in, but I would not make six out of 18 models female - maybe three or four - and do research among female gamers to target them at the race/class combo's they prefer.

Set two goes overboard on the new races introduced in PHBII, races that a lot of worlds (mine included) just don't use - Warforged, Gensai
, Gnome and Shifter are examples . More confusingly their is no model for the much anticipated Half-Orc which featured in the PHBII.

To me the balance of the sets are just wrong, too many humans, to many females, trying to hit too many bases race wise etc. I know series three is out soon and will start plugging gaps, but the gaps are in the wrong places - By now WoTC should be giving the less common combo's their attention, not filling in the gaps of the core race/class combo's... And still, most sets will have at least one if not two models people won't want. But I guess that's marketing!"


  1. If they covered all the basic stereotypes right off the bat they'd never sell the sets with the weird figures in them. They need to spread out the classic guys with the weird ones. That way they'll sell as many as possible!

  2. I haven't roleplayed for a while, due to too many ongoing commitments, but when I stopped I did a tally of the number of people I'd played with. I can't remember the exact total, although it was almost 100 different individuals. But I do remember the gender proportions: 2/3 were women. That may be because my RPG groups came together as a way of socialising rather than through gaming clubs. Certainly, I think I've only ever played historical gaming with one woman. I think my RPG experience may be unusual in its gender split, but I'm not so sure about the figure and wargaming side of it - is it maybe an even lower proportion of women than others have seen?



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