I like Wizards’ pre-painted plastic miniatures, both the D&D and Star Wars flavors—I make heavy use of them in the games I run. But I really think Wizards is missing an opportunity by not releasing a few RPGer-friendly miniature sets.
By this I mean that I would be a happier GM if I could go to my friendly local game store and buy a box of non-random, themed plastic miniatures—say, a box of a dozen skeletons, or goblins, or kobolds or Stormtroopers or what-have-you. As it is, because the miniature packs sold by Wizards are randomized, I’ve got just as much chance of winding up with a celestial black bear (truly, a staple of any D&D game) as I do of getting the basic gnoll that I’ll actually use in my game.
Yes, it’s not too difficult to assemble “encounter groups” by purchasing miniatures individually from a place like GMSarli Games or Miniature Market. The former online store even sells themed encounter packs to make your life easier. But why isn’t Wizards doing this? Why aren’t they selling packs of miniatures as companions to the adventure modules they’re releasing? (Some brave soul on rpg.net has gone through and listed out miniatures that cover every monster in Keep on the Shadowfell—looks awesome, but prohibitively expensive to collect individually.)
Ah well, I’m just another GM ranting that Wizards isn’t making the exact product that he wants… but I’ve seen other gamers online calling for non-random miniature sets, and you’d think Wizards could at least test the concept with a release or two. Wizards, are you listening? Add my vote to the record….by