November 15, 2018 at 12:55 PM #1839
What do you think is the BIGGEST reason the game went out of print?
Lots of things get discussed around this topic, including the discovery that they said the styrene format was “cost prohibitive to produce”.
I think we cannot understate the pure global economics of the time. The financial crisis was devastating the economy throughout 2008, and as someone on BoardGameGeek said, when times get tough, family entertainment like board games are one of the first and easiest things to cut out of a budget. Looking at a timeline, September and October 2008 were two of the worst months the global economy has ever seen. When the world financial system is falling apart, you can’t really expect an already declining miniature board game to survive at all. I don’t want to absolve Wizkids of some of their mistakes or deny that other reasons contributed to the game going out of print, but quite frankly it’s possible that Pirates had no chance of continuing into 2009 and beyond given the horrendous market events happening in general.
I’m an optimist by nature but theoretically we could be due for some economic regression in the next 5 years or less… hopefully not.
What are your thoughts on this topic? This is one of the many topics I’ve had “in reserve” for quite some time, and considering that this month marks exactly 10 years since the game went out of print, it seems like a good relevant discussion to get people participating in the forum here.November 15, 2018 at 2:36 PM #1849
I would say the styrene format was a major factor with Topps decision to scuttle the game, also need to factor in the cost of the die cutting as well.
Other card games weathered the storm caused by the crash of 2008, Pirates was unfortunately too expensive of a game to take a chance on.
It was a shame that Wizkids wasn’t purchased by a game company instead, it might of had a chance to survive.November 17, 2018 at 1:13 AM #1894
Definitely have to agree with Ernie there, the game along with its Star Wars material mate were a bit too novel for a company that I’m sure feels much more comfortable pushing various grades of paper with ink and metallic embellishments. Pirates demanded the die cut styrene, the rules package, and can’t forget those tiny dice jammed into the same footprint as any other card trading pack. Considering how terrifying 2008 was it would seem the obvious thing to axe. And of course the thing keeping it dead is probably these self same production costs combined with being unsure of the market because Pirates exists in a weird space between tabletop miniature wargaming and card centric games like say Magic that no doubt would give a marketing department fits trying to nail the right pitch for.November 19, 2018 at 10:00 AM #2032
Topps wanted the cash cow that was HeroClix, and got the rest of WK along with it. When they decided HC wasn’t worth their effort any more they shut the whole thing down.
When NECA picked up the remnants later, mostly just for HC, they must not have seen high enough profit margins to bother restarting any of the other lines. They only made a half-hearted attempt with the Pirates license with that “Shuffling the deck” game, which faded into obscurity pretty much before it even began. They used the Mage Knight license to make a really excellent board game (currently ranked #22 on BGG), but it’s “Mage Knight” in name alone and has virtually nothing to do with the old miniatures game. ‘Mechwarrior and Crimson Skies reverted back to whomever they were originally licensed from (Microsoft?) and NECA never got them.
The whole collectible games market in general seems to have quieted down a lot in the past few years too. There are still several big ones still out there going strong, and the occasional new one, but it’s not like the mid-2000s where it seemed like there were five new collectible games being launched every week.
ADDED: Another factor, maybe less obvious, can be seen in some of the backlash directed at mobile and online games, and particularly EA, for their horrendous “loot box” and microtransaction systems that are bleeding consumers for every penny they can get. The whole blind booster system used by Pirates and so very many other collectible games is almost the exact same thing, just with an an actual physical element to it, so it didn’t seem as bad at the time.
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