As many suspected, this morning’s Topps/WizKids press teleconference, a sports miniatures game was the announcement. ESPN’s Keith Olbermann read a scripted release that revealed MLB SportsClix, a collectible baseball miniatures game, was scheduled for release in March 2004. Players will act as team managers, selecting specially designed dice to use with the stats in the click-base of the professional baseball player figures, and fielding their team on a baseball diamond-like playmat. Starter sets will contain nine figures, and boosters will contain either three or two figures (the latter being the version for mass market chain stores). Our notes on the conference call are below.
In the Q&A session that followed the announcement, WizKids founder and CEO Jordan Weisman, Topps president and CEO Arthur T. Shorin, WizKids executive VP of game design Jim Long, WizKids marketing manager Bob Porter, WizKids advertising and PR manager Dave Nieker answered questions from the press, retailers, and distributors. The following details were thereby revealed:
- Jordan Weisman confirmed that “This is a collectible game, so it will have figures that are more rare than others.” There will be uniques, rares, and so on.
- There will be an Approved Play program, similar to that for HeroClix. Details are still being finalized.
- There won’t be Home and Away versions of the figures. Just one uniform version per team. Likewise, hall of fame or veteran figures aren’t planned just yet, but may be along later.
- Many teams will be buildable from this first set, which will contain over 150 figures (an exact count isn’t known yet). Other teams will not be complete right away.
- A session of the basic MLB SportsClix game will take about 30 minutes. A session of the full game will take around an hour.
- Stadium environment (dome, night game, day game, rain) won’t come into play. Such rules were in an early draft of the game, but were cut to reduce complexity.
- It was mentioned that both a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher will be required to complete a game.
- The product will bear the MLB hologram, among other things, to fight counterfeiting attempts.
- Can baseball fans take their figures to be signed by the players? “I’ve signed a few,” said Weisman. “It’s not easy, but it can be done.” The possibility of game day giveaways at actual major league baseball games is being looked into.
- WizKids will be showing some MLB SportsClix figures at Gen Con SoCal this December.
- The game will be distributed through a joint effort of Topps and WizKids.
Overall, it sounds like WizKids has created another hit. But will there be mascot figures? And will they have bobble heads?
EDIT: The official press release is up now, along with some images of sample figures.