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There is a duck in every game. You may not see it, but it's there.
I recently stumbled across a Kickstarter for Reaper Miniatures. Reaper is the spiritual successor to Ral Partha, if you have fond memories of the old days of D&D as I do. They nominally do wargame miniatures, but primarily they sell fantasy miniatures for the RPG crowd. Recently, they quietly released a "Bones" line of miniatures made in plastic. I've been out of the RPG scene for a long time, so maybe they loudly announced it, but I wouldn't have known. Long story short, these plastic Bones miniatures turn out to be perfect for pimping fantasy board games.
So why should you believe me? For one, as I mentioned earlier, they are cheap. Also, they are white plastic and take paint without need of a primer. They are also flexible but spring back into shape automatically when bent. So what this means is that you can use these with your board games now without paint, you can spray paint them a solid color very easily if you desire, and they are not brittle so you don't have to worry about lots of broken bits. Ino other words these are perfect for board games as is.
If you're the person who just wants more than cardboard standees or the tiny miniatures you get in most FFG games, then Bones are something to consider. I am a sucker for cool bits so I was naturally intrigued. FFG makes nice miniatures but they cannot compare. And to be fair to them, it's not their bag. They make beautiful games first, not beautiful miniatures.
If you are into painting miniatures, these are still very nice, but not really painting contest quality. The detail is not quite as good as metal and it is noticeable to someone who looks for that sort of thing (like me). these are gaming miniatures, not showpieces. So miniature snob beware. In my opinion that is the only downside. Paint won't crack on them and they have none of the drawbacks of metal for board games (no marks left on the board, dents or just being too heavy).
And what makes Bones even more attractive is that the Kickstarter has been crazy good, and you can get these miniatures way cheaper than in the store. And when I say cheaper, ogre sized miniatures will run you 2.50 normally, so these are pretty cheap. Whether you want miniatures to proxy for your descent 2nd edition conversion kit, or just to make your Return of the Heroes, or other fantasy game shine, you can find something.
I know this blog is sounding like a paid advertisement and I want to be clear that it is not. I am involved in the kickstarter so stand to benefit from stretch goals, and you can scream bias there. But everyone who backs gets those so it's not like I'm getting something extra. Never one to just jump on the bandwagon, I went out and purchased two of the larger bones miniatures (a gnoll and bugbear) to verify Reaper claims about the plastic. And it's true for the most part. They take paint fine but a guide wash (super dilute paint or ink) does not work so well. Not a deal killer for most hobbyists. They need no prep unless you are into fully painting miniatures.
Bugbear miniature link added for your enjoyment
Even if you love miniatures for their own sake and are into painting, I think you will like the bundles offered, but you may want to stick with metal for those really awesome paint jobs. Either way, check it out: