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Subject: Hasbro to scrap most of its Avalon Hill titles rss

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On the latest OgreCave Audio Report (http://www.ogrecave.com/audio/index.php?id=52) Chris Hanrahan of Endgame Oakland reports that Hasbro is scrapping most of its Avalon Hill line of games.

The following games are reported as to be discontinued:

Monsters Menace America
Nexus Ops
Vegas Showdown
Rocketville
Sword & Skull
Betrayal at House on the Hill

Essentially WOTC gave retailers one last chance to order the games. All remaining inventory will be destroyed.

So if any of you wanted these things, you should be able to get them cheap.
 
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Well, that would pretty much just leave the Axis and Allies line (including the A&A Minis, and the new A&A Battle of the Bulge). I wonder if this dropping of these others games (which I can only assume did not meet their financial targets for Hasbro) will translate into more support for the A&A line, including maybe some similar games based on other conflicts?
 
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By the way... I'm not really surprised that these games failed to sell to Hasbro's expectations. That leaves just Roborally in that line of square-box games, if I'm not mistaken. You have to wonder how long it will be before even RR is sent to the scrapheap.
 
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Jonathan Franklin
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Vegas Showdown, the Epic Duels of 2008?

Sadly, I doubt it, as if Epic Duels had not had the Star Wars license, it would not be so sought after.
 
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Leo Zappa
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You have to think the problem with most of the games on this scrap list is that they were "tweeners", i.e. not serious enough for hardcore hobbyist gamers (like the typical BGG'er) yet not dumbed down enough (or mass-marketed enough) to sell alongside mass-market staples such as Monopoly, Life, Risk, or Clue. The ads for these games on this site were not effective, since most of the people on the site scoffed at them, yet I don't recall seeing any TV ads for these games on the various kids networks (unlike Heroscape, for which I have seen TV ads on Cartoon Network). So it seems like these games never found their intended audience, and I'm not sure who that audience was. I know myself, while I'm a big fan of all things Axis and Allies, I never really considered buying Nexus Ops or Monsters, as both came off as too silly for my taste, especially the packaging and bits - a more serious treatment might have led to more success amongst the A&A crowd for these two at least.

As for the quality of the games themselves, I have no firsthand experience with any of them, but reading comments here, I get the impression it was a mixed bag, with quite a few people liking Nexus Ops, almost everyone hating Rocketville, and the rest somewhere in between.
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I think Rocketville failed to do well simply from the backlash from that infuriating ad that they had here for it. Everyone was so turned off, the game was doomed.

The power of BGG. Scary.
 
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Todd Derscheid
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manowarplayer wrote:
I think Rocketville failed to do well simply from the backlash from that infuriating ad that they had here for it. Everyone was so turned off, the game was doomed.

The power of BGG. Scary.


Err, one of the guys here in town bought a copy, and after playing it, he gave it to one of the local shops as a play copy.

He told the owner, "Make sure everyone who comes in never, ever buys Rocketville."
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Jonathan A.
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The question is, "Are any of these games worth owning?"

I own AND really enjoy Nexus Ops. The two times I've played Betrayal, I've enjoyed it as soon as we figured out the NEW encounters downloads. I'm going to get a copy as soon as I can muster up the $20.

So, should I own any of these other games?
 
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crusader4x wrote:
The question is, "Are any of these games worth owning?"

I own AND really enjoy Nexus Ops. The two times I've played Betrayal, I've enjoyed it as soon as we figured out the NEW encounters downloads. I'm going to get a copy as soon as I can muster up the $20.

So, should I own any of these other games?


I can ditto Nexus Ops. Get it while the gettin' is good.

Suppose I'll have to go ahead and pull the trigger on Betrayal. And if I see RoboRally for 20 bones, you'd better believe I'm 'bout it 'bout it.
 
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I think that Vegas Showdown is worth $20 if you enjoy games with auction mechanics in them. My gaming friends really enjoy the game, but I find that it pales in comparison to some of the other games. However for $20 and free shipping...
 
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Fawkes wrote:
By the way... I'm not really surprised that these games failed to sell to Hasbro's expectations. That leaves just Roborally in that line of square-box games, if I'm not mistaken. You have to wonder how long it will be before even RR is sent to the scrapheap.



....And then how logn it will be before ebay prices for it skyrockets!
 
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Mixed feelings on this...it could mean they're reappropriating budget to focus on something else but it could also mean that Avalon Hill might be at its terminal point (again). Distributors were running some REALLY deep discounts to retailers a couple of months ago on all of these (except Nexus Ops and Betrayal) and I thought that was kind of odd, particularly on Vegas Showdown and Rocketville since they're quite new. It's really a shame they can't pull their act together and get AH where it needs to be, but it looks pretty grim from here. It's a tough sell getting a company that regularly publishes MILLIONS of mass market games worldwide to pay any attention to a niche market that buys in the thousands.
 
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autumnweave wrote:
I think that Vegas Showdown is worth $20 if you enjoy games with auction mechanics in them. My gaming friends really enjoy the game, but I find that it pales in comparison to some of the other games. However for $20 and free shipping...


Where are you getting the $20 and free shipping quote from?
 
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Jonathan A.
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SatanicEssence wrote:
Where are you getting the $20 and free shipping quote from?


Here - http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2320951&c...
 
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Douglas S
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They need to sell all of the AH rights to another game company that will faithfully reissue, rerelease and improve the gems in that collection.

Allow me a brief rant please:

I'm sick of companies that buy the rights to things, only to destroy the product, or sit on it and do nothing.

recent examples-

Tower Records is sold to a liquidator instead of someone who was going to continue running the chain. The liquidator bid 134,500,000 and the company that was going to continue bid 134,000,000. Ridiculous.

Crossgen comics had a line of comic titles. Someone bid to takeover the company and keep the comic releases monthly. Instead, Disney buys Crossgen and cancels the comic company, just so they can make a movie (perhaps) based on one (1) of the titles. Crazy.

Hasbro buys Avalon Hill, to sit on the titles or to make but a few games based on the AH line instead of reissuing many. I'm mad.

Sometimes i dispise unfettered capitalism.

Rant over.

-Doug
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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crusader4x wrote:
The question is, "Are any of these games worth owning?"

I own AND really enjoy Nexus Ops. The two times I've played Betrayal, I've enjoyed it as soon as we figured out the NEW encounters downloads. I'm going to get a copy as soon as I can muster up the $20.

So, should I own any of these other games?


Thumbs up from me on these AH/WoTC/Hasbro titles, in no particular order:

Betrayal at the House on Haunted Hill
Monsters Menace America
Nexus Ops
Robo Rally
Star Wars: Queen's Gambit
Battle Cry
History of the World
Axis & Allies: Pacific
Axis & Allies (revised 2004)
Axis & Allies: D-Day (YMMV)
Acquire
Diplomacy

Note: I haven't tried Rocketville, Sword & Skull, nor Vegas Showdown. 'Showdown I might like to have based on what I've heard about it. I've tried Cosmic Encounters in this and in other editions and, as a game, it's just not my cup of tea. Stratego Legends didn't interest me.

Almost forgot Risk:2210 and Risk: Godstorm! Well, 2210 is the better of the two, IMO. However, they haven't seen the table in a looong time and probably won't.
 
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Quote:
Tower Records is sold to a liquidator instead of someone who was going to continue running the chain. The liquidator bid 134,500,000 and the company that was going to continue bid 134,000,000. Ridiculous.


Douglas, come on, you're killing me here! cry

 
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Douglas S
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I'm sorry, but it is true. No more Tower Records for around 3/4 of 1 % more money. Otherwise, it would have gone on. Now a legend will soon be gone. Go get stuff there right away. They have 30-50 % off. Soon it will be gone into history. poof!

unfettered capitalism cry
 
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Eddie the Cranky Gamer
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Moral of the story: always put your ACTUAL highest bid in when bidding on eBay.



The local shop (in Canada) finally got some of these titles in cheap, but they didn't get any Nexus Ops or Vegas Showdown. Grr.
 
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apotheos wrote:
Moral of the story: always put your ACTUAL highest bid in when bidding on eBay.


laugh haha
 
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Shawn Low
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Well, I wish we could get those cheap games here. The full priced stock (US$60 for some of them) has failed to sell in most stores here in Australia.

Also, TRU doesn't stock anything from the AH line except for Risk Godstorm, 2210AD andd Axis and Allies (non discounted).

Strange that Hasbro is string to do eurogames but ditching some great euro-influence games!

Betray
Nexus Ops
Monsters Menace America
Vegas Showdown

are fantastic games and well worth the discounted price! DAMN!
 
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Darren M
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Nexus Ops and Vegas Countdown are the best of that bunch but these 2 games still fit the generic "lukewarm" type of game description. Both get pretty decent ratings from those that play them and both have the feel of "we've seen the different parts before but it all works here pretty well... not great but not bad".

We are seeing more of these games. I think St Petersburg, Hacienda and Palazzo also generally fit into that category. All "decent games" but nothing to set the world on fire. Hasbro certainly isn't the only producer of these "derivative" games.

It appears to me Hasbro is/was trying to make stuff that is safe and appeals to a broad sector of the populace with these somewhat watered-down Euro games they are creating. The problem is as others have mentioned... they don't really appeal to the broader market as they are too far removed from what's already sitting in Wal-Mart. 99% of the population isn't interested in boardgaming beyond what they always have played. Learning about these new games... even if they are better just isn't in the cards for them. Simpson's Monopoly... bring it on. LOTR RISK... hell yeah.

Imagine Joe Sixpack or Suburbia Sally at their local game emporium... Wal-Mart/Target/TRUS:

Nexus Ops??? What the hell is that.. looks weird.... Game of Life - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Now that's more like it.

I'm not surprised they didn't sell well. We on BGG know they are "decent" games but they don't appeal strongly enough to anyone to care a lot about them. They aren't the type of games that gamers are clamouring to have reprinted like Hannibal or Dune or Civilization and non-gamers won't buy them for birthday presents when they can get something with Spongebob plastered all over it instead.

So they and their ilk are dead in the water.

I actually give Hasbro some credit for trying at least. They were getting a few new designs produced and took a stab at the crossover market but alas they failed. I imagine they are sitting on huge piles of plastic and cardboard as they don't produce things in small quantities. The fact that these failed WILL probably mean they won't try anything like these again.

I would imagine repetitive licenced products and collectable games like Heroscape and Dreamblade will be their only excursions into new boardgaming in the future.

One (VERY)wishful thought is that they can now hopefully see how useless it would be for them to produce any of their older "old school games" en masse... and they finally decide to sell and release the licences to other small companies that will actually make a buck producing them on a smaller scale. They would make a better profit this way rather than be stuck with a wasted pile of plastic when 50,000 don't move off the shelves in a year's time.

On the other hand, 5,000 copies of Hannibal would be a small profit turner for a smaller publisher... it's nothing but a nuisance at that type of quantity for Hasbro.

So yes the tombstone for AH is being chiseled as we speak but it's not a bad thing. AH has been nothing but a blood-drained zombie walking around as only a sad reminder of what once was, what NEVER was and what never will be again.

Niche products that only appeal to niches within a niche are best left to niche producers. Hot Lava Death was and is the best you'll likely see from Hasbro for years to come.

 
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crackedlcd81 wrote:
It's a tough sell getting a company that regularly publishes MILLIONS of mass market games worldwide to pay any attention to a niche market that buys in the thousands.


And yet Ravensburger pulls it off . . .

Haven't the suits heard of subsidiaries? Small, almost independent siblings who focus on niche markets with the financial backing and buying power of the parent?


Here's a thought, sometimes the 800lb gorilla in the room starves to death.

Depends on the room.

 
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nexttothemoon wrote:

On the other hand, 5,000 copies of Hannibal would be a small profit turner for a smaller publisher... it's nothing but a nuisance at that type of quantity for Hasbro.


Let's quantify this. Say the new Hannibal sold for $60 retail, its wholesale would be $30, its cost to distributors would be $15 . . . so this hypothetical smaller publisher stands to make around $60K of profit if it costs them $3 to make the game.

If they could sell directly on the web at say $50 via a P500 approach, all the better, but still they'd have to be doing it for the love of the game.
 
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Duglis wrote:
I'm sorry, but it is true. No more Tower Records for around 3/4 of 1 % more money. Otherwise, it would have gone on. Now a legend will soon be gone. Go get stuff there right away. They have 30-50 % off. Soon it will be gone into history. poof!


Actually, they are still at the 10% level. Not worth going for yet IMO.

I kinda wish that Hasbro had some reality for some of their titles and do them in the small runs that they deserve. All we want to see is the games out there, and a lot of us figured that a large company like that could do it without it hurting their bottom line.

Instead, they hoped to hit the homerun ball, and that wasn't going to happen with most of these games. We just want the games we want to play.

Jason
 
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