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Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game» Forums » General

Subject: Why not Avalon Hill? rss

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Luke O'Hearn
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I'm certainly intrigues by this game - most likely I'll buy it along with Dragonfire Mountain and whatever else they make in the line.

But why isn't this game being released as an Avalon Hill title? I've wanted Avalon Hill to release a D&D board game since they went under the jurisdiction of WotC. This could only serve to broaden the appeal of the game, as D&D and AH fans alike would be interested.

I guess Avalon Hill has truly been reduced to an Axis & Allies only line. It's no longer WotC's brand for strategy board games. I love Axis & Allies - it's my absolute favourite. But Castle Ravenloft would have pumped a much needed IV of fresh blood into Avalon Hill, and perhaps reestablished the viability of the line.

This is a sad day for Avalon Hill.
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Jason
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Mainly because AH has never had anything to do with the Dungeons and Dragons IP. If they started to associate AH with D&D that could possibly get tricky down the line if Wizards decided to offload either D&D or AH.
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Scott Bartel
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crimhead wrote:
This is a sad day for Avalon Hill.


Actually, the sad day for Avalon Hill was back in 1998 when Hasbro assumed control. AH has never been the same since.
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RJD
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homiefud wrote:
AH has never been the same since.


Mostly due to Hasbro's firing of everyone who worked there. As I understand it, all they really wanted was the brand name and the computer licensing rights to certain AH titles.
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Scott Bartel
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UnluckyNumber wrote:
Mostly due to Hasbro's firing of everyone who worked there. As I understand it, all they really wanted was the brand name and the computer licensing rights to certain AH titles.


You are actually half right. AH's owner, Monarch Avalon Printing. no longer wanted to be involved in the game industry (mostly due to a few financial/legal blunders). They disbanded AH in 1998 and Hasbro swooped in and bought up all the rights and inventory because they did, in fact, want the brand name.

But back to the topic, I agree with Wired_Wolf. D&D and AH have never crossed paths and IMO never should. In the gaming world, who publishes a game does not make that big of a difference... Especially when it's two publishing giants. Just because WotC publishes a game, doesn't mean all the Magic players of the world will flock to it. Same is true for AH... Dune and Civilization fans would not pick this up simply because it carried the AH moniker.

Edited for spelling.
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Wulf Corbett
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I must be so out of date... When I read the suggestion Avalon Hill should print this, I thought "Why? It's not a wargame..."
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Luke O'Hearn
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I liked the original Avalon Hill, but my favouite games they made were lighter than the hex&chit historical variety. I liked Titan, Colonial Diplomacy, Amoeba Wars, Enemy In Sight, etc.

Avalon hill under hasbro put out some good titles at first - reprints of HotW, Acquire, Cosmic Encounter and Diplomacy; as well as New A&A titles and other new stuff like Battlecry, Queen's Gambit, and Risk 2210.

Those didn't make enough money, so AH went to WoTC. They made an honest effort to produce viable hobby games too - and I quite liked Nexus Ops, the MOnster's Menace America revamp, and Robo Rally. But I guess only their A&A games made any money because these are the only new games they make now. I'm Glad they're doing that - I love A&A.

I know these games weren't the same as old AH,but I liked them.

But with access to the D&D logos, I thought WotC could ahve made AH games which weren't A&A but would still make money. I was hoping for a revamp of the old TSR Dargonlance game myself. If AH had enough different titles making real money, maybe they could justify throwing out the odd experiment.

I guess them making D&D board games outside the Avalon Hill line tells me they've completely given up on any new AH non A&A, as nothing else could possibly be more viable than a D&D game. If this isn't going to be a AH game, nothing is.
 
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crimhead wrote:
I guess them making D&D board games outside the Avalon Hill line tells me they've completely given up on any new AH non A&A, as nothing else could possibly be more viable than a D&D game. If this isn't going to be a AH game, nothing is. :(

I'd think the branding of the Betrayal at House on the Hill re-release would be more telling (when it happens).
 
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Luke O'Hearn
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Wired_Wolf wrote:
Mainly because AH has never had anything to do with the Dungeons and Dragons IP. If they started to associate AH with D&D that could possibly get tricky down the line if Wizards decided to offload either D&D or AH.


Before 1998 Avalon Hill hadn't had anything to do with axis and Allies or Risk. Nonetheless Hasbro made Axis & Allies: Europe and Risk 2210 under the Avalon Hill brand because that was going to be their strategy board game line. They weren't worried about selling Risk or AH at the time.

pseudotheist wrote:
I'd think the branding of the Betrayal at House on the Hill re-release would be more telling (when it happens).


That's still a reprint. They reprinted Acquire and Diplomacy recently, but seem to have given up on new titles that aren't A&A.
 
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Jason
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crimhead wrote:


Before 1998 Avalon Hill hadn't had anything to do with axis and Allies or Risk. Nonetheless Hasbro made Axis & Allies: Europe and Risk 2210 under the Avalon Hill brand because that was going to be their strategy board game line. They weren't worried about selling Risk or AH at the time.


Semi-vaguely valid point. That was Hasbro...this is Wizards of the Coast, they are a more gaming oriented company than Hasbro so are probably more cognizant that "Castle Ravenloft by Avalon Hill" would make a large portion of gamers go:

Plus, it'd be intertwining IPs at that point, and if for some reason WotC would want to unload AH (grom forbid); I'd imagine that there would be some legal issue then as to what entity owned the Dungeons and Dragons IP.
 
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Luke O'Hearn
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Wired_Wolf wrote:

That was Hasbro...this is Wizards of the Coast...


Still Hasbro, though.


Wired_Wolf wrote:
"Castle Ravenloft by Avalon Hill" would make a large portion of gamers go:


The same Avalon Hill that produced Titan and Wizard Quest; and more recently Star Wars, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Stratego Legends? Where as Dungeons and Dragons was originally published by the same company that made games like Red Storm Rising and Europe Aflame?

I don't really see the clash.

Wired_Wolf wrote:
Plus, it'd be intertwining IPs at that point, and if for some reason WotC would want to unload AH (grom forbid); I'd imagine that there would be some legal issue then as to what entity owned the Dungeons and Dragons IP.


When Hasbro bought Avalon Hill certain titles didn't come with the deal. Same as when FFG bought Games Workshop. I don't think this has anything to do with it. I think WotC has simply abandoned AH but for A&A and the odd reprint.
 
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Jason
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crimhead wrote:

Same as when FFG bought Games Workshop.



When exactly did this happen?

crimhead wrote:

I think WotC has simply abandoned AH but for A&A and the odd reprint.


I don't think it has, but, again. This conversation is all supposition and guesses, none of us know because none of us work for WotC.
 
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Scott Bartel
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crimhead wrote:
Same as when FFG bought Games Workshop.


FFG didn't buy GW. They acquired the rights to publish most of GW's 'non-miniature' games.
 
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Luke O'Hearn
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homiefud wrote:

FFG didn't buy GW. They acquired the rights to publish most of GW's 'non-miniature' games.


Sounds like it's easy enough to separate the rights for certain titles from the brand trade mark.
 
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Scott Bartel
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crimhead wrote:
Sounds like it's easy enough to separate the rights for certain tiels from the brand trade mark.


Not sure I understand your point in that remark... They acquired the rights, not the IP. GW is 'allowing' FFG to publish those things in exchange for a big pile of cash. There is no separating being done.
 
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AxonDomini
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I think you're missing the point that D&D and AH, while they are both subsidiaries of WotC, are separate brands. I think it's clear that WotC is trying to keep its many brands distinct. They only want ONE brand on this product, which makes sense from both a marketing approach and a business oriented organizational/logistical approach. With that it mind it clearly makes more sense to publish the game under the D&D brand than the AH brand.

While AH may indeed be moving in an "A&A only" direction, this decision is in no way evidence of that.
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Ron Laufer
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jeffk wrote:
I think you're missing the point that D&D and AH, while they are both subsidiaries of WotC, are separate brands. I think it's clear that WotC is trying to keep its many brands distinct.
For further anecdotal evidence of this, notice that they have never made the obvious Dominaria D&D setting, or vice versa, an M:tG set based in one of the worlds of D&D. Though either would probably sell like hotcakes, they are determined to keep their brands distinct. (the only exception I know of so far being D&D Heroscape).
 
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Luke O'Hearn
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This issue was addressed on the podcast - it's great to be heard!

I'd sort of known the R&D staff was the same. My real concern is the missed opportunity to promote the Avalon Hill brand (and sell Ravenloft to AH completionists who aren't into D&D).

I'd thought this would be win win, but maybe you guys are right that there are brand related red tape issues.

jeffk wrote:
They only want ONE brand on this product, which makes sense from both a marketing approach and a business oriented organizational/logistical approach.


You may be right regarding business organisation and logistics, but I think two brands would increase the marketing as well as cross promote with no marketing related drawbacks.

Anyway, I don't want to whine about this, that's lame. It just makes me slightly sad.

gonzoron wrote:
jeffk wrote:
I think you're missing the point that D&D and AH, while they are both subsidiaries of WotC, are separate brands. I think it's clear that WotC is trying to keep its many brands distinct.
For further anecdotal evidence of this, notice that they have never made the obvious Dominaria D&D setting, or vice versa, an M:tG set based in one of the worlds of D&D. Though either would probably sell like hotcakes, they are determined to keep their brands distinct. (the only exception I know of so far being D&D Heroscape).


I'd always thought that a D&D/MTG cross over might alienate players who dislike one game but like the other. This is beyond double branding - it's actually a thematic crossover and more likely to incur a negative response. Also I thought a D&D/MTG crossover might be seen as jumping the shark.

That said, I love the expression "anecdotal evidence"! Thumbs up!
 
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