20

High Stakes Drifter Hung High

According to an article in ICv2.com, WizKids has decided to end support for High Stakes Drifter.


WizKids also said that it will no longer support its High Stakes Drifter CCG, which did not receive enough support to justify continuing it.

This is no surprise to me. I had breakfast with WizKids’ CEO Jordan Weisman at the GAMA Trade Show last week, and he apologized to me for how the company had stumbled on the launch of the game. It was the first CCG that WizKids published, and there were some growing pains. However, they’ve learned a lot from it, and I suspect that their upcoming Battlestar Galactica CCG will profit from it.

For my part, I bear WizKids no ill will at all. We all wanted the game to sell better, and they risked far more on the venture than I did. Hopefully the game (or at least the best parts of its mechanics) will appear someplace else in the future. Jordan and his crew treated me wonderfully throughout the entire process, and I’d love to work with them again sometime soon.

Comments 20

  1. Well, having played High Stakes Drifter, I must say that it is one of the better CCG’s out there.

    I also have a friend who works for UDE, who has worked on both teh VS and WoW CCg’s. His look at the upcoming Battlestar Galactica CCG is that it may not live up to the hype.

    Such is the risk of development of an intellectual property.

    HSD will remain in my heart as the CCG that got me back into CCGs.

    Thanks Matt!!

  2. Well, having played High Stakes Drifter, I must say that it is one of the better CCG’s out there.

    I also have a friend who works for UDE, who has worked on both teh VS and WoW CCg’s. His look at the upcoming Battlestar Galactica CCG is that it may not live up to the hype.

    Such is the risk of development of an intellectual property.

    HSD will remain in my heart as the CCG that got me back into CCGs.

    Thanks Matt!!

  3. Thanks, Brian. I long ago learned that how well a games sells doesn’t bear directly on its quality. It’s hard for a rotten game to sell well, but great games can languish for a lot of different reasons. So many different things have to fall together in the right way and order for something to really take off.

    As for me, I’ll keep taking my shots. And I’ll take comfort in the fact that you and others enjoyed High Stakes Drifter and got something out of it.

  4. Post
    Author

    Thanks, Brian. I long ago learned that how well a games sells doesn’t bear directly on its quality. It’s hard for a rotten game to sell well, but great games can languish for a lot of different reasons. So many different things have to fall together in the right way and order for something to really take off.

    As for me, I’ll keep taking my shots. And I’ll take comfort in the fact that you and others enjoyed High Stakes Drifter and got something out of it.

  5. I grabbed a starter and a couple boosters to try out High Stakes Drifter when it came out, and I thought it looked pretty cool, but one thing that skewered it pretty early for me was the quick start rules, which were a little sketchy for my tastes. Granted, I can fill in the gaps myself, but I really don’t want to have to do so when playing a card or board game. I don’t have a lot of chances to game now, so games that I can jump right into instead of having to hack at are much preferred.

    [I noticed the same sort of problem with the Pirates CMG too, and I’m sure we played it wrong the entire time. :-)]

  6. I grabbed a starter and a couple boosters to try out High Stakes Drifter when it came out, and I thought it looked pretty cool, but one thing that skewered it pretty early for me was the quick start rules, which were a little sketchy for my tastes. Granted, I can fill in the gaps myself, but I really don’t want to have to do so when playing a card or board game. I don’t have a lot of chances to game now, so games that I can jump right into instead of having to hack at are much preferred.

    [I noticed the same sort of problem with the Pirates CMG too, and I’m sure we played it wrong the entire time. :-)]

  7. Hm, maybe it’s just you, pal. 😉

    I had nothing to do with the final production of the game, so I can’t say if or what went wrong there. In fact, when I turned over the game to WizKids, it wasn’t even a Western. That came later.

    Still, the final design hews closely to what I turned over, so you can lay whatever blame at my feet you like.

  8. Post
    Author

    Hm, maybe it’s just you, pal. 😉

    I had nothing to do with the final production of the game, so I can’t say if or what went wrong there. In fact, when I turned over the game to WizKids, it wasn’t even a Western. That came later.

    Still, the final design hews closely to what I turned over, so you can lay whatever blame at my feet you like.

  9. Pft. No blame at all. I know how things mutate over time. Life is too short to get upset over not having Instant Mega Fun the first time you play a game that cost a whopping $20. 🙂

  10. Pft. No blame at all. I know how things mutate over time. Life is too short to get upset over not having Instant Mega Fun the first time you play a game that cost a whopping $20. 🙂

  11. I wanted to say thanks for the link re: the Coulbert piece. Sorry to hear that HSD is not going to be supported anymore. Sadly, my lack of purchasing only contributed.

    The game sounded interesting, but funds are limited. Especially given the cost of FFG games and the production schedule of many games I like to read.

    Anyway, this (and many of your posts the past week) got me thinking about the Wildstorms game you worked on and I will probably write a detailed post in the next week.

    To this day, it is my favorite superhero card game. Playing in “campaign mode” I think it best captures the comic book spirit. Now if I could just get enough cards that let me spend more than 10 recruitment points…

  12. I wanted to say thanks for the link re: the Coulbert piece. Sorry to hear that HSD is not going to be supported anymore. Sadly, my lack of purchasing only contributed.

    The game sounded interesting, but funds are limited. Especially given the cost of FFG games and the production schedule of many games I like to read.

    Anyway, this (and many of your posts the past week) got me thinking about the Wildstorms game you worked on and I will probably write a detailed post in the next week.

    To this day, it is my favorite superhero card game. Playing in “campaign mode” I think it best captures the comic book spirit. Now if I could just get enough cards that let me spend more than 10 recruitment points…

  13. Thanks, Christian. I got a kick out of WildStorms myself. If you check out the Vs. System games from Upper Deck, you’ll see some strong similarities between them and WildStorms.

  14. Post
    Author

    Thanks, Christian. I got a kick out of WildStorms myself. If you check out the Vs. System games from Upper Deck, you’ll see some strong similarities between them and WildStorms.

  15. I tried it but I’m just not a fan of CCG’s. I would have much preferred a mini’s game. There are plenty of historical characters out there to field a base set and a couple of expansions. If they could grab a few movie rights, there supply could be endless: True Grit, The Searchers, The Good The Bad & The Ugly…etc.

    You could fill out the sets with townsfolk, US Soldiers, comman braves, ect.

  16. I tried it but I’m just not a fan of CCG’s. I would have much preferred a mini’s game. There are plenty of historical characters out there to field a base set and a couple of expansions. If they could grab a few movie rights, there supply could be endless: True Grit, The Searchers, The Good The Bad & The Ugly…etc.

    You could fill out the sets with townsfolk, US Soldiers, comman braves, ect.

  17. I recommend The Great Rail Wars or Fields of Honor if you like historical minis games. GRW features high doses of fantasy (undead, weird science, etc.), but you can strip all that out easily enough.

    I love Westerns myself, but High Stakes Drifter joins the ranks of straight Western games that just didn’t sell. I’ve written a few RPGs in the same vein, and without the fantasy element (as in Deadlands, it’s just hard to get enough people to bite.

  18. Post
    Author

    I recommend The Great Rail Wars or Fields of Honor if you like historical minis games. GRW features high doses of fantasy (undead, weird science, etc.), but you can strip all that out easily enough.

    I love Westerns myself, but High Stakes Drifter joins the ranks of straight Western games that just didn’t sell. I’ve written a few RPGs in the same vein, and without the fantasy element (as in Deadlands, it’s just hard to get enough people to bite.

  19. Well, I love Avalon Hill’s GUNSLINGER (I own 4 copies) and play it quite often via PBEM. I also have enlarged the original boards (4X) and use them at cons. The Heroscape cowboys work quite well at this scale. There is also a new Wild West game coming out from Worthington Games. They are accepting (discounted) pledges now. Should be out this summer.

    Sorry for highjacking this thread. I just love western games and there are so few to talk about

  20. Well, I love Avalon Hill’s GUNSLINGER (I own 4 copies) and play it quite often via PBEM. I also have enlarged the original boards (4X) and use them at cons. The Heroscape cowboys work quite well at this scale. There is also a new Wild West game coming out from Worthington Games. They are accepting (discounted) pledges now. Should be out this summer.

    Sorry for highjacking this thread. I just love western games and there are so few to talk about

Leave a Reply