Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne talks Modern Horizons 3 pricing and the Heroscape announcement.

I've been checking the prices for Magic: The Gathering - Modern Horizons 3, which is releasing this summer (see "Deets Unveiled").  We are looking past Outlaws of Thunder Junction, which (surprisingly) has far more interest amongst our customers than Murders at Karlov Manor did.  As a side note, we are still having difficulty explaining just what Murders at Karlov Manor: Clue Edition is, "where is the board" being the most common question. 

I wanted to take a look at the pricing for Modern Horizons 3 to see how it compared with the jaw-dropping pricing for last summer’s Commander Masters.  Although the prices for Modern Horizons 3 are high, at least compared to other current Magic sets, they pale in comparison to the prices Wizards of the Coast charged for Commander Masters.  The store will be able to sell a Modern Horizons 3 Play Boosters for under $15 and still make a pretty good profit, whereas Commander Masters Set and Draft boosters still must sell for over $20 apiece to make a marginal profit.

Even the Modern Horizons 3 Collector Boosters feature a reasonable price for this booster type.  After looking at the pricing for Bundles and Commander Decks, it appears prices for Bundles and Commander Decks have shot upwards, with keystone pricing for Bundles a bit over $100 and keystone for Modern Horizon 3 Commander Decks a whopping 40% up over the Commander Masters’ Commander Decks.  If you want to keystone prerelease kit pricing, stores are looking at right around $70.  For a prerelease event, that is pricy. Unless preorder demand spikes sharply, the store will likely take its normal number of Bundles, but cut back significantly on Commander Decks and Prerelease Kits as there was previously significant price resistance to this type of pricing on Commander Masters Commander Decks.

We have been looking forward to the re-release of Heroscape, this time from Renegade Game Studios, who have happily gotten the rights to most of Avalon Hill's board game catalog, allowing them to get games like Axis and Allies and Robo Rally back into print (see "Heroscape 2024 Product Release Calendar").  Unfortunately, Renegade, for whatever reason, has decided to release two different editions of the game: the Standard unpainted version which will go into distribution and a Premium Painted version available directly from the company for an extra $100.

Unfortunately, the first time Heroscape released, very few people bought it to actually play the game.  Customers bought it for the miniatures and terrain, both of which were painted, which was comparatively unusual for the time.  I remember a number of buyers that added the figures to their collections for use in various fantasy and sci-fi roleplaying games, while BattleTech players glommed onto the terrain because it fit the scale of BattleTech perfectly, allowing them to create elevation in a way that flat hex maps did not.  Heroscape sets were a great deal for miniatures players 20 years ago (see "New Boardgame Includes Miniatures"). I will be interested to see how players respond to the new sets, especially the unpainted and more common version.

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The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of