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Heroscape’s second miraculous revival is everything the failed Hasbro relaunch should have been

A timely rescue pivots away from expensive boxes and towards organised play and a traditional look.

Heroscape: Age of Annihilation box art under Renegade
Image credit: Renegade Game Studios/Avalon Hill

Heroscape fans will soon be able to lay down their burdens. After two wild years where the cult tabletop miniature wargame sprung from the ashes for a premature rebirth (and ensuing re-death), board game publisher Renegade Game Studio plucked Heroscape from the dirt and has opened pre-orders for a new master set and starter kit slated for summer 2024.

Makers Avalon Hill first announced the refreshed Age of Annihilation in late 2022, promising fans a glorious return to hexagonal plastic tiles and science fantasy factional skirmishing via a crowdfunding campaign on corporate owner Hasbro’s proprietary platform, HasLab. Advertising only a single colossal box that cost $250, the campaign struggled to maintain any momentum and fell well short of its $2 million goal with only 8,000 logged backers.

Hasbro seemed content to let Heroscape collect dust in the IP closet until Renegade Game Studio inked a licensing deal with the toy giant (the two had already collaborated on remasters of other board games such as Diplomacy Axis & Allies) in mid-2023. After a year of internal development, we finally got a look at Heroscape’s third chance at life, and it’s about as much as fans could have hoped for.

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The first wave of boxed sets will include a larger Master Set and a more economical 2-player Battle Box. Compared to Age of Annihilation’s initial pitch, the Master Set lowers the asking price to a more reasonable $125 for 20 unpainted miniatures, 74 interlocking hex tiles, walls and nine prewritten combat scenarios. The Battle for the Wellspring Battle Box will set you back $45 for six unpainted miniatures only found in this beginner-oriented kit, along with 31 tiles (including a new opaque Wellspring Water terrain) and four scenarios.

This already solves the most obvious Achilles’ Heel in Hasbro’s ill-fated reboot. While the existing Heroscape audience is both fiercely loyal and enterprising, they could never muster the necessary numbers to sustain profitability. Avalon Hill needed to court a new audience curious in their interlocking hex tiles and weird, gear-shaped army sheets. Take it from a former player who still regrets selling all of his minis in a garage sale 15 years ago: Heroscape’s accessible system only works if you can entice people to the table.

Renegade further cemented their role as a thoughtful brand steward by announcing plans for organised play launching alongside Wave 1 boxes in August of this year. Competitive play will begin with local hobby shop tournaments and free scenarios released every month but will eventually expand to include army builder tools, an online website called the Battle Network and a world championship planned for Gen Con 2025. Players will battle their way through store and regional championships before making it to the grand stage in Indianapolis, while casual players can indulge their meagre bloodlust in separate organised events.

Heroscape: Age of Annihilation box art under Renegade
Age of Annihilation's new boxes recapture the same design and feel of the wargame's 2000 era. | Image credit: Renegade Game Studios/Avalon Hill

Renegade Game Studio said that it wanted to honour the apparent flood of requests for pre-painted miniatures during the 2022 HasLab campaign by selling higher-cost versions of both the Master Set and Battle Box with fully painted figures. It’s not clear whether the publisher will keep both in stock or limit the more labour-intensive box to initial launch windows.

Heroscape: Age of Annihilation will skip crowdfunding and launch directly into retail sometime in August 2024. The Master Set and Battle Box will be accompanied by a separate kit of jungle terrain that includes knotted trees, vines and massive leafy plants representing the massive Laur Jungle on Valhalla.

More information and pre-order links can be found on Renegade Game Studio’s official website.

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