Wizards of the Coast has unveiled the details of its new Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game.  The first series of 80 pre-painted 30mm scale plastic figures will ship in September as Entry Packs ($19.99) and Harbinger Expansion Packs ($9.99).  In November WotC will ship the 60-figure Dragoneye Expansion.  The Entry Pack includes everything the consumer needs to start playing the D&D CMG -- a complete basic rulebook, a 20-sided die, 16 randomized miniatures with statistic cards, a battle grid mapsheet, and eight terrain tiles.   But WotC is hoping that the D&D Miniatures will have a dual use -- in CMG contests of head-to-head miniatures combat, and as markers in conventional D&D campaigns.  Research commissioned by WotC 'shows that nearly three-quarters of D&D players currently use markers to enhance their games, and that more than half of those players would like miniatures that are immediately playable.'


A prime example of this line's dual use emphasis is the Miniatures Handbook ($29.95), which is shipping in October.  The Miniatures Handbook does contain competitive scenarios for engaging miniatures combat, and it does expand rules for miniatures play for both skirmishes and mass battle conflict, but it also includes new feats, spells, magic items and prestige classes, making it a useful volume even for gamers who just want to play standard D&D without miniatures.  The Miniatures Handbook actually adds new base classes to the D&D realm, 'the favored soul,' and the 'warmage.'


The packaging of the Harbinger and Dragoneye Expansions follows a typical pattern for collectible miniature games.  Each blind box contains eight randomly packed figures, four common, three uncommon, and one rare.  To enhance its potential for use in conventional D&D campaigns the initial 80-figure D&D Miniature series shipping in September includes a number of classic D&D characters including: Dwarf Axefighter, Halfling Veteran, Wild Elf Barbarian, Human Wanderer, Elf Archer, the Cleric of Corellon Larethian, Kobold Warrior, Mind Flayer, Owlbear, Wolf Skeleton, Orc Berserker, and Umber Hulk.