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Review: World of Warcraft Miniatures Game

November 15, 2008

World of Warcraft Miniatures is a pre-painted collectable miniatures game produced by Upper Deck Entertainment that is based on Blizzard’s World of Warcraft game. Starters are fixed and retail at $25 and includes everything you need for 2 people to play. It comes with 2 Alliance and 2 Hordes figures, 4 Character cards, 8 Action cards, 3 Alliance and 3 Hordes UBases, 3 Alliance and 3 Hordes dice (D10), rulebook, checklist, and 2 sided map. Boosters are random and retail at $15. Each booster contains 3 figures that are all of the same faction.

Game Play
World of Warcraft Miniatures (WoW Minis), uses a unique resource management mechanic in the form of time. Each character has their own personal clock, whenever they do an action their personal clock advances. The more powerful the action the more ticks a characters personal clock is advanced. Each character activates along the master clock time line. When a characters personal clock matches the master clock that character is able to activate. When there are no characters with a personal clock that matches the master clocks time, the master clock is advanced by 1.

While this may seem complicated, it actually isn’t. I found the basic mechanic is very easy to pick up. Once you get the concept of time down (which isn’t hard) you pretty much set to play. Characters are enhanced with Action Bar cards that allow for some form of customization. These cards provide extra abilities and attacks to your character. Each Action Bar card has restrictions to what type of character may use them.

Games play very fast. While the mechanics are simple there is a lot of strategic depth when it comes to managing your time as it directly when the model can next activate. Action Bar cards add another level of strategic options that make for very interesting game play.

The standard game plays with 3 characters with 2 Action Bars cards for each character on each side. Characters must be of the same faction (Alliance, Hordes, Monster). Each character has an Honor stat. The combined Honor of all your characters is what is required in Victory Points in order for you to win. For example if you have 3 characters with Honor points 4, 6 and 4 (14) you will need a total of 14 Victory Points to win. Players get 4 Victory Points for destroying an enemy character and 1 Victory Point for each character that is on or adjacent to a Victory Point Location at ticks 5 and 10 on the Master Clock. Characters that are destroyed are allowed to re-spawn at a later time.

Models
Models are at a larger scale than most collectible miniatures game. They are designed on a 40mm scale. Upper Deck claims that the larger scale allows them to make miniatures that hold more detail that their competition but I don’t really see it. In fact I wish they made it at a 30mm scale as it would excuse them from the lack of detail at such a larger scale. Upperdeck also claims the larger scale will have high quality paint detailing that is unmatched by any other product on the market. This, in my opinion, is an exaggeration. The paint apps are what you would expect from a pre-painted collectible miniatures game. Upper Deck also probably didn’t expect Privateer Press new collectible miniatures game Monsterpocalypse to be so good. Right now I think Monsterpocalypse is still the best pre-painted collectible miniatures game out there. Don’t get me wrong though, the miniatures look great, they are just not something I would tout as exceptional in the ways Upper Deck has.

Closing Thoughts

All in all I really like what Upper Deck has done. Their first miniatures game on the market has nice models back by a simple yet innovative game mechanic that offers lots of strategic depth. There’s also on character versus one character option that is surprisingly very fun. A concept that I’ve always been intrigued with in miniature gaming. I look forward to seeing other ways to play this game.
With the future of HeroClix in limbo and the void of collectible games that Wizkids is leaving behind, it’s a good time for World of Warcraft Miniatures. There may be gamers out there without a game. WoW Minis could fill that void.

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