While the traditional counter-based wargame hobby chugs along with a number of fascinating new titles appearing each year, not to mention a steady diet of games from Strategy & Tactics and Against All Odds, sales and hobby buzz seem to definitely lie in the realm of toy soldiers and their cousins, wooden blocks.
There's little doubt that figure-based wargames such a s Axis & Allies and Memoir '44 have sales figures many times higher than counter-based games. Wooden block games have also seen in creased interest, whether they simply use blocks to replace figures such as in Commands & Colors or they use the Columbia fog-of-war feature, these also seem to generate more enthusiasm.
Consider, for example, Hold the Line vs. Napoleons War. Now HTL is a popualr and well-done hex-and counter game that's seen better-than average success. Indeed, it's physical quality is among the best seen in hex-and-counter games, with a mounted map, German-style box and thick, full-color counters. In some ways Napoleon's War represents a step back, with a nice, but not quite as sturdy box, thinner informational counters and unmounted cardstock maps. But it has figures -- toy soldiers -- and it sold out upon release! Just sayin' ... .