As reported by ICv2, Wizards of the Coast is canceling its Heroscape line after its November release. According to Wizards:
After a thorough evaluation, we have made the decision to discontinue our Heroscape line in order to focus our efforts on our core brands. While this decision means that we will no longer be developing new content for the game, existing Heroscape products will still remain available from Wizards of the Coast and sold in the hobby game channel while supplies last.
Wizards’ explanation for why is simply, “We have chosen to focus our business efforts on our core brands.”
As per Wikipedia, Heroscape is an “expandable turn-based miniature wargaming system originally manufactured by Milton Bradley Company, then shifted to Wizards of the Coast, both subsidiaries of Hasbro, Inc.. The game is played using pre-painted miniature figures on a board made from interlocking hexagonal tiles that allow for construction of a large variety of 3D playing boards. The game is often noted and lauded by fans for the relatively high production quality of the game materials, in particular the pre-painted miniature figures as well as its interchangeable and infinitely variable landscape system.”
The final Heroscape expansion, Moltenclaw’s Invasion, was released on November 16, 2010. This final assortment, which is playable with the Heroscape D&D Master Set, included “the best and most iconic creatures from the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons. Orcs, bugbears, dragons and frost giants will all come together to join the greatest battle of all time.”
I’ve always found the development of the Heroscape line to be puzzling. The Dungeons & Dragons rules set, specifically the third and fourth editions, seemed to be progressively streamlined to bring new players into the game. Until the revival of the Red Box set, the latest versions lacked the easily accessible, kid-friendly means of distribution (a boxed set) and simplified rules (like Basic Dungeons & Dragons). Heroscape seemed like the perfect fit, and the Heroscape transition to Wizards in 2004 made a lot of sense to me.
What made less sense was how Heroscape adopted the characteristics of Dungeons & Dragons without the rules, with the Dungeons & Dragons molds used as Heroscape figures. It wasn’t really an entry into Dungeons & Dragons so much as a brand ploy. So perhaps it was unsurprising that Heroscape didn’t perform well.
The subsequent cancellation, according to Wikipedia:
…caused an instant backlash in the Heroscape community, instigating petitions to Hasbro for them to take up the game again and causing others to vow to never buy from Wizards of the Coast again. Aside from the prominent disappointment, the Heroscape community remains resolute to keep the game alive through continued tournaments and user created content.