Pathfinder and Wizkids raise the miniature game stakes yet again with their second set in the Pathfinder Battles series. The paint and sculpt quality take a noticeable increase this time around and Ben thinks you’ll most certainly agree. You ready? Let’s do this.
Inside the Numbers
The price of materials to make all this miniature magic continues to be as expensive as ever. Yet for the non-paint artisan like Ben, the cost is still insanely worth it. He has neither the time, patience or skill level to paint his own. He’ll leave that underrated skill to talent juggernauts like Catatafish and stick with forgiving homebrewed terrain.
Sadly, online bundle options are confusing as ever. Ben misses the good ol’ WotC days when a case was a case. Currently, it’s a big ol’ jumbled mess of Standard Boosters, Huge Boosters, packs and bricks.
Ben went with Popular Collections’ combo package which went for a zesty $425 plus $20 for shipping. Oddly Paizo’s own online offering was actually more expensive. Steep indeed but being a maniacal collector, Ben had to have a full set. Considering a one of every figure set goes for about $379, collectors might as well just buy the Popular Collections bundle and keep the doubley goodness for themselves (or to use in future trade). Plus, you can always just pick and choose your favorite minis and via the competitive singles market.
The internet is filled with tales of people completing sets with little investment. Ben seems to have the opposite luck – and rounding out this 65-mini set was no exception. He was forced to open every last pack before he had ‘em all. He was four rares short with just eight standard boosters to go but pulled a Jaagrath Kreeg rare ogre out on the final pack. Whew.
Thankfully, standard miniatures were no longer packed in trash monger single fashion. This time around, a typical booster pack contained four miniatures (1 large and 3 standard). Yes, the packaging is still a bit heavy but crushed miniatures at today’s prices just ain’t right. They gotta come upright and Paizo has made sure this remained the case. Ben pretty much only had one miniature with a little bit of a lean to it.
Weapon bending was also tolerable with couple of the larger figs having detachable limbs. No worries though as everything snaps into place properly. The extra mile here is appreciated.
Just as we saw from WotC’s early miniature days, the quality of Pathfinder’s miniatures has taken a huge turn for the best in its second year. While we can’t say for certain, it appears that Pathfinder added another paint color/brush stroke to the manufacturing process. This is no more apparent than when you look at the ogre from the first set and the ogres in the second set…night and day, my friends.
This excellence uptick is hard to demonstrate. Pathfinder’s minis weekly blog previewed this set but Ben was just blown away by the actual display cases at Gen Con. You have to see them first hand to really understand the transformation. Ben also seems to think that the material composition has changed for the better (first set was a little brittle) but can’t prove it – they just feel better.
The Rise of the Runelords promotional figure is a zexy choice as the Rune Lord can certainly hang with other special edition miniatures on the market. Plus, Ben has enough oversized Dragons and was thrilled with the new creature categories.
A few minor quips. The white ink on the bottom of the bases makes for easier reading but we’re bummed they don’t show the common/uncommon/rare designation like WotC. And some classic D&D spinoffs like the Harpy lost out to WotC versions. Hey, nobody’s perfect.
Monster vs. Characters
Ben likes the monster make-up of this set but wishes the number of character-specific minis was a little lower. Still, the ratio was tolerable with 36 monsters and 24 characters in total.
- Goblins (5 more of the series’ most popular class )
- Ogres (4 with full nastiness)
- Monsters (20 classics)
- Characters (24 distinct looks and poses)
- Creatures (7 in animal or critter style)
- Huge (5 non-dragons)
And now for our Rise of the Runelords top and bottom five. The envelope please…
Ben’s RPG Pile Fabulous Five:
- Forgefiend (brilliant in every way, shape and form)
- Jaagrath Kreeg (best pre=painted Ogre in the land)
- Stone Giant Champion (stunning resemblence to MM1 drawing)
- Gobln Commando on Goblin Dog (screams evil)
- Bugbear Hero (insane detail)
Ben’s RPG Pile Bottomfeeder Five:
- Storm Giant (Roller Girl with different color hair)
- Lamia Matriarch (the definition of big sister)
- Lamia Harridan (Horrible creature choice for the mini’s size)
- Redcap (we just don’t get it)
- Stone Golem (Ruined by the silly head piece)
And the fun continues next year with Pathfinder’s Shattered Star, with a new 55-mini set! Ben never thought we would get back to an ongoing minis set cycle. Rhymin’ Simon got it right when he said, “These are the days of miracle and wonder.”
We’re still holding out hope that Dungeon Command can give Paizo a run for its money in 2013 but for now, there’s a new sheriff in town and its name is Pathfinder Battles.
Questions to Ponder: How many boosters will you buy? Did we get our top or bottom five wrong? How so? Do you only buy singles? Can WotC save their miniatures franchise or has Pathfinder stolen the lead with its two new sets? Can Mage Knight ever make a successful comeback? Will Reaper’s unpainted Bones Kickstarter line compete?