Saturday, September 20, 2008

Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures: Task Force

I've nearly collected the whole set. Overall, I'm pleased with the selection and quality, although a few of the sculpts are kind of rough and many of the paint jobs are too heavy.

For wargaming uses, though, everything works well and some of the models are really good. I particularly like the Saratoga.

The mix of units seems well thought out. While corporate bean counters forced a very high number of repaints, they ships selected make sense and Set III will have few repaints so it may very well work out.

If the line goes through Set IV, which seems likely, because I think Set III will sell out, then I think we will end up with a very useful collection for regular naval wargaming as well use with the A&A: WAS rules.

Customer support will, of course, dictate how long this can go on, but I think the history-based collectible games may have more staying power than many others because of the inherent collectibility of the pieces. I think they can probably go as far as a Set V before running into some hard choices about ship selection (mostly because the German Navy isn't big enough to support it.) There are, of course, various what-ifs that could be tried, such as the ships cancelled by the Washington Naval Treaty

On the other hand, the centennial of World War I is approaching, so there may be enough interest to support a Great War line of ships. I could also see a modern line being offered as well, especially if China builds up enough of a navy to provide a credible opponent.

The land game seems to be cranking along OK, too, and there's a new 50th anniversary edition of Axis & Allies coming which will help keep the brand fresh.

I think Hasbro is also being smarter with the pace of expansions in both the land and naval miniatures lines by not pushing them out so often. A new set every six months to a year seems like a good, sustainable pace. By having realistic expectations for the brand, Hasbro may avoid the mistakes that doomed DreamBlade.

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