Live at GTS 2004: Galactus takes GTS, with side of fries

Though they seemed a bit frantic, WizKids managed the horde of retailer registrations for Galactus HeroClix figures with only an hour delay. While the majority of retailers lined up outside the banquet hall to complete their check-in process, a handfull of WizKids employees carted massive pallets of Galactus figures into the room and unpacked them in preparation for distributing. When Jordan Weisman, President and CEO of WizKids, finally took the podium, Galactus was standing atop the podium next to him, as if to say “Thanks for coming to my show. Now the guy behind me’s going to say a few words.”

Weisman began his talk by assuring retailers that WizKids would be maintaining focus on its core lines, that new lines would be added carefully, and strong attention would be given to attracting new customers. He began talking about specific lines with MLB SportsClix, saying “We knew this would be a slow grower.” The presentation continued, promising a youth baseball outreach program, promotional nights at the ballpark, a spring training launch tour, and league play at local venues. Overall, the retailer crowd didn’t seem that impressed.

The crowd perked up considerably when HeroClix became the next topic (after all, everyone was there to get Galactus). DC HeroClix: Unleashed, a set of 97 figures, including the Bat Sentry double-size chase figure, is headed to stores any day now. Though most of the crowd had already heard it, come were quite happy to learn that Kingdom Come characters are in the set. HeroClix Universe was described next, a new entry point for beginning players with toned down, younger versions of some of the classic Marvel figures. Marvel HeroClix: Ultimates showed a number of cool figures, some of which haven’t been done before. Ghost Rider upon his flaming motorcycle drew oohs and aahs from the audience before the presentation moved on.

Mage Knight will be taking mounted figures to the next level with the Dark Riders. The riders will separate from their mount and be able to ride a different figure, since the two are statted separately. A fair number of gamers are sure to buy these just for the exquisite, interchangable figures. The set will also have the first titan, the Skyguard Griffon, with updated rules for all Titans.

For MechWarrior, WizKids will be releasing Falcon’s Prey, a set that introduces special equipment to the game. To help keep the game moving off store shelves, Weisman mentioned a “golden ticket” type of promotion, wherein the winning tickets will be sent in for Dropships.

Finally, a new abreviation was thrust upon the unsuspecting crowd: CSG – Constructible Strategy Game. The example of this was Pirates of the Spanish Main, a new game designed primarily by James Ernest and Mike Selinker. Using plastic punch-out cards like those used for equipment in Mage Knight 2.0, players put together ships of various fleets — the French, Spanish, and so on — and fight to collect gold tokens from various islands. WizKids will be selling packs of Pirates that look like CCG booster packs, but contain enough punch cards to provide two ships, an island, some gold coins, the rules, and even some tiny dice, all for $3.49 per pack. I’ll post more on this in a bit, since I managed to talk with both James and Mike about the game Wednesday afternoon.