One of the more recent trends in the games business has been the emergence of RPG encounter miniatures boxed sets as a viable product type.  Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, RPG encounter boxed sets that contained molded miniatures specific to an included, ready-to-play adventure were few and far between, primarily because they were too expensive to produce and sell at a reasonable MSRP.  The closest game manufacturers had come to making a reasonably-priced line of RPG encounter miniatures boxed sets were with older AD&D and D&D adventure boxes that contained 2D plastic or cardboard miniatures.  Various products, from Reaper, WizKids, and other miniatures companies, contained sets of miniatures that were aimed at being used in a specific encounters, but the successful marriage of a out-of-the-box playable RPG adventure and an economically-priced set of miniatures didn't come about until recently.

The game changed for RPG encounter miniatures boxed sets in the 2010s as Dungeons & Dragons 5E grew to previously unseen levels of popularity.  This rising tide lifted all boats, allowing more and more higher-priced RPG products to become more saleable as demand for new and better game accessories grew.  With RPG supplement books ranging in price from about $39.99 to $59.99 by the end of the 2010s, it was not out of the question to ask consumers to spend a similar amount of money on other supplemental materials.  The COVID-19 pandemic, of course, helped accelerate this increase in RPG spending because it increased the amount of consumers' disposable income going towards RPG supplement purchases because people were unable to go out of their houses to spend money elsewhere.

Steamforged Games can be credited with introducing the first fairly successful line of RPG encounter miniatures boxed sets with their Epic Encounters products (see "'Epic Encounters' Fantasy Miniatures Sets").  This product line came about in 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and offered RPG players ready-to-play encounters in a box that came with highly-detailed unpainted miniatures.  The value proposition on their earlier sets were truly in the consumer's favor as they came with somewhere between 8-18 miniatures for about $49.99 to $54.99.  Other boss miniature encounter sets featured 1 to 5 huge-sized figures for the same price point.

Following Steamforged's lead, WizKids created their own RPG encounter miniatures boxed sets in 2021.  Circa 2020 to 2021, the company was producing generic terrain sets that they were marketing as WizKids 4D miniatures sets (see "'4D Settings War Machines' Sets").  At some point, they decided to use the WarLock brand to sell some of these terrain pieces with other miniatures as a WarLock Tiles: Encounter in a Box miniature set (see "'WarLock Tiles: Encounter in a Box' Sets").  This product was changed again, and became just Encounter in a Box sets (see "Two 'Encounter in a Box' Sets").  This brand of encounter sets eventually turned into a hybrid of 2D miniatures and 3D plastic miniatures with WizKids Encounter in a Box (see "Fend Off Salty Buccaneers").  Presumably, this product type was created to cut costs on production while offering players some high-quality 3D pre-painted miniatures in the box.

In 2023, WizKids added the D&D Icons of the Realms brand name when they announced a new type of RPG encounter miniatures boxed set called Adventure in a Box (see "'Red Dragon's Lair'").  Their most recently revealed set features an encounter with a Red Dragon and Kobolds; much like SFG's first two Epic Encounters set did, except this set comes with terrain as well.  For $99.99, the box offers up a decent amount of value in pre-painted miniatures, terrain pieces, maps, and more. It will hit stores in April 2024, and is worth a look.

While WizKids continues to develop their branding for RPG encounter miniatures boxed sets, Steamforged forges ahead to improve their Epic Encounters product type.  Their Epic Encounters: Local Legends line, which was crowd-funded in 2022 (see "'Epic Encounters: Local Legends'"), has been a smash hit with RPG players.  Their new offerings for this line offer ready-made encounters at a lower price point of $24.99 (see "Four 'Local Legends' Sets").  These sets are intended as more of a one-shot encounter and include a handful unpainted miniatures at that price (see "'Green Dragon' and 'Night Hag'").  The future is wide-open for the RPG encounter miniatures boxed set product type, and it's worth exploring to add to inventory.

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