Industry: The Top 5 Miniatures Games 2016

It’s a fight for your hobby dollar – come take a look at who came out on top in 2016!

Based on the U.S. Sales data gathered by Industry Watchdog ICv2, here are your Top 5 Non-Collectible Miniatures Lines from the fall of 2016:

via ICv2

This chart of the Top 5 Non-Collectible Miniature Lines (hobby channel) reflects sales in Fall 2016.  The charts are based on interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers.

1: Star Wars X-Wing –  Fantasy Flight Games

2: Warhammer 40K – Games Workshop

3: Warmachine – Privateer Press

4: Warhammer Age of Sigmar – Games Workshop

5: Hordes –  Privateer Press

 

We covered the previous year’s results too and it’s interesting to see the mix shift this much:

Fall 2015 Top 5 Non-Collectable Miniatures Lines:

1: Star Wars X-Wing
Fantasy Flight Games

2: Warhammer*
Games Workshop

3: Star Wars Armada
Fantasy Flight Games

4: Warmachine**
Privateer Press

5: Star Trek Attack Wing
WizKids/NECA

*It was not specified which version of “Warhammer” this was referring to. It may have been Just 40k, AoS, or a combination of both.

**It was not specified if “Warmachine” was just Warmachine or if Hordes was also considered as part of the sales data.

However you slice it, FFG’s X-Wing has retained it’s #1 spot. Star Trek Attack Wing and Star Wars Armada were both bumped off this year’s list and Age of Sigmar and Hordes have come back strong.

Overall, you’re seeing the trends continue with Fantasy Flight Games in the lead, Games Workshop in a strong second and Privateer Press coming in third. For more details check out ICv2’s full write-up on the state of the Industry in 2016 – “An Eight Year of Growth In Hobby Games” – it’s an interesting read and it sounds like the past year was pretty positive across the board.

 

Have fun with this on in the comments – Play Nice!

  • Lord of Deeds

    Not surprised by X-wing. That will be sales juggarnaut so long as Star Wars movies and such are being released and it’s cost of entry and accessibility remain superior to both GW and PP’s product lines.

    Sad to see ICv2 not use clear cut descriptions/product delinations year over year. As mentioned it makes any compairson very speculative.

    • Carey_Mahoney

      Exactly. StarWars plus easy entry was X-Wing’s recipe. But I don’t care, 40k’s my game, no doubt about it.
      Interestingly, I have the impression that X-Wing isn’t remotely as popular here in Germany as it is in the USA. Maybe people here don’t give that much about the SW franchise, they only force their kids to.

      (unintentional pun…)

    • Cergorach

      ‘Warhammer’ generated $150 million for GW in 2016, the whole of FFG doesn’t generate that amount of money, that means X-Wing is generating less then that, significantly less then that.

      Icv2 is just not asking the right people the right questions, we see this also with the RPG list…

      It isn’t unknown that these kinds of outfits ask leading questions that lead towards the results they like to see…

      • Ross Allan

        Biggest issue is that GW themselves don’t partake. According to the half year report (which is independently verified, by law) US Trade sales were around £11,000,000. GW retail sales in North America? £7,000,000.

        Now, how exactly you factor that into the ICV2, I don’t know – I can only do the most rudimentary extrapolation.

  • generalchaos34

    Sigmars on there! coming up in the world, which is good because its a good game that gets a bad rap

    • Karru

      There are mostly two camps regarding the hate of AoS. First, and the most vocal group, is the one that hate everything about AoS purely because it replaced Fantasy. The second group is those that either tried it or studied it and don’t like it because of the system itself. The second group usually likes to comment about this fact because for some reason trying to convince others to hate the game as well is fun.

      My opinion about AoS is still the same. I don’t like it due to being too simplistic and the current model design is very boring. If someone likes it, then go right ahead, I won’t stop you.

      • I’d say there’s a third group, which complains about the fluff and doesn’t give a damn about the rules otherwise.

        • Karru

          Oh yeah, I always forget that there is “lore” in AoS. It’s just so bad and boring that I want to forget.

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            Legends of the Fyreslayers is quite a fun read.

          • Hawt Dawg

            And yet you read two full lines of the fluff.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          The novels are pretty good.

          • The last few may have gotten better, but the first 6 or 7 were pretty bad. I read them all and had to force myself through all the nonsense. Wardens of the Everqueen was especially bad, it couldn’t even stay consistent with the two previous novellas from the same plotline and shared characters, to the point of reviewing dead ones and discarding character developments and making up entirely new replacement characters for the same jobs.

        • Cergorach

          Let’s be honest, the old fluff wasn’t literary material either. I liked the setting and I still use it. Playing against an opponent, I let him/her imagine the battle his/her way and I my way. Can play AoS, WFB3E-8E, 9th Age, Mordheim, Frostgrave, etc. with whomever I want…

        • Timotheus

          I think this fits to the mentioned first group that I guess I belong to. I hate AoS for replacing Fantasy and thus hate everyone who says something good about it because I want it to fail so GW finally acknowledges what a big mistake they made (and bring back Fantasy which I never played or collected aside from Mordheim but always loved for the lore and the models).

      • thereturnofsuppuppers

        Join us… Jooooiiin Usss.

        (you can use the old models hisssss)

        • Karru

          Another issue is the fact that convincing my group to play it again would be extremely difficult. They played AoS when it first came out, which was a big mistake, and didn’t like it so they have no interest in it any more.

          I have made some random concepts already regarding AoS armies, which I know I’m going to make at some point. Nurgle Warband with a mixture of Nurgle Daemons and Chaos Warriors, High Elf army or Sigmarine army but replace every head in the army with a Medieval Knight helmet.

          • thereturnofsuppuppers

            Always an issue. I played 40k for a long time because it was the only thing around.

            Guess you would have to find some AoS players in your area. Do you have a GW store near you, there’s usually some aos going on there.

            Also I’d pick up one of the brand spanking new armies, they are much more enjoyable to play than the legacy ones, anything with its own battletome really.

          • Karru

            I currently live an hour train ride away from the capital where the nearest GW resides, the second issue is that there aren’t any FLGS anywhere near me.

            As for the army, the issue is that I don’t really like the look of the new armies. Stormcast need the helmets in order for me to enjoy them and those are hard to come by. That’s why I’m currently waiting for GW to update the old armies like High Elves or Empire. When it comes to Warhammer, I always prefer “small” dudes. Elves, Humans and Dwarfs are usually what I go with. I also like them to wear armour or at least some cool looking clothing, this leaves the Fyreslayers out.

            I personally never care about the power level of the army either, it’s the look that count the most for me. With AoS, I tend to look for fun combos that can be done with the army afterwards, which was the reason why I originally looked into Nurgle.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Half naked dwarves on top of gigantic, molten salamanders are… Boring?

        I think the phrase you are looking for is, “I don’t like how they look” not “they are boring”.

        • Aezeal

          Yeah my tree revenants and Kurnoth hunters are quite insulted too.

        • Karru

          The boring factor comes from the repetitiveness. The new Orcs, Trees, some of the Chaos and Sigmarines all share the same “big model small unit” combo which I don’t like at all. They started to switch things up a bit more with Tzeentch but some elements still remained constant. Large models with lots of small details all over the place.

      • nuggy

        Love everything about AoS, the minis, the rules, the armybuilding potential, and I really like all the new factions. But damn it I am still irked by the lack of proper world building. Most of the fluff is good, but it still feels a bit floaty and without a firm scale to anything.
        That being said, its still a petty new ip if you discard all the “old fluff” and they are really ramping up their effort on that part so time will tell.
        But until that day Im just going to say its a post-apoc “old world” instead of new infinite realms and just jump right into having the best gw games Iw had in a long time.

    • Ravingbantha

      Sigmar is coming up, it dropped 2 spots. Changing the name of the game doesn’t mean the miniature line changed.

      • Munn

        Dude, shut up. It says in the article that it didn’t specify which of the 2 warhammers it was. It might have been both combined, we don’t know. The only thing we do know is it sure as heck wasn’t WHFB cause that died halfway through the year.

        • Karru

          This is one of the very few situations that I find myself agreeing with you. It did say Warhammer and not Warhammer Fantasy/AoS/40k. It is possible that it was the two combined as Fantasy was in massive decline at the time so the impact would be minuscule.

          The fact that AoS is at the top 5 does show positive things about it.

          • Aezeal

            And it’s probably without GW direct sales… if I read that correct from one of the first replies in here?

      • thereturnofsuppuppers

        That’s an interesting view. It would be nice to see some more data to see how well things have grown of decreased.

        At the moment it all seems a bit vague.

  • Karru

    Not surprised at all about the current situation. X-wing taking the lead is understandable as it carries the name Star Wars in its title. 40k getting the second place might change to 3rd depending on the release of 8th as it may or may not see a massive exodus of veterans leaving since there is a chance they will take the lore too far and/or they won’t fix anything.

    • ChahDresh

      There have been plenty of games with the Star wars name that have crashed and burned. The name is insufficient explanation for X-Wing’s sales success. Possible alternate explanation: It’s a good game.

      • Aezeal

        Probably is.

      • rtheom

        It’s a relatively simple game that can be made more complex voluntarily. It requires relatively few models (almost demands the games be small to be playable), and has a well known name behind it. It’s really just the perfect storm of things needed to make a truly accessible game that can please everyone.

        • Karru

          Yeah, unfortunately it is already showing symptoms of “unfriendly to new comers”. The upgrade card system is pretty bad in the long run. A new player can come into a store with his new collection and ask for a game. Then he gets completely annihilated because the opponent had all the cards and made a perfect combo which made him nigh unkillable and extremely lethal.

          It’s the same problem as is with Magic: The Gathering. New players can quickly learn how to see combos from the set of cards they have, an experienced player knows how to make those combos happen correctly and an veteran knows how to guarantee those combos.

          Same thing is happening in X-wing. Veteran players have all the upgrade cards and know them all, so they know exactly the type of lists they should run. They then use this same list in every game because they presume that everyone does the same.

          • rtheom

            Well that’s just called being in a nerd hobby. It’s the only place you can go where people try so hard to impress others with their skill but never actually do because it turns out no one besides you actually cares and everyone would rather just have a fun time. :p

          • Karru

            Tell that to the guys I used to play Magic with. I always loved doing fun and interesting theme decks, which would always get completely destroyed by my opponents who ran the most top tier comp decks.

          • rtheom

            That is exactly the kind of people I’m referring to. :p

      • marxlives

        I agree, I love Warmachine, but I have played X-Wing, it is a good game.

      • Karru

        Considering that I don’t see D&D Attack Wing or Wings of Glory up there, I’m going to go on a hunch that the name “Star Wars” is a massive contributor to its success. Don’t get me wrong, X-wing most likely is a good game as well, but saying the title of the game didn’t help it get to the number 1 position is very wrong.

        The reason for X-wing’s top position is two-fold. First and the biggest is the brand, it’s Star Wars. From there it led to people buying into it a lot because of that, the ships were nice and painted so they were more accessible to people. The second part is the constant support that FFG gives it. X-wing has taken the CCG approach to the game. They are constantly releasing new products with new upgrade cards that shake up the meta big time. This means that in order to stay competitive, you have to buy the latest releases, even if you have no intentions of actually using the ship they come with.

        This turns the game into a massive gold mine. Especially now with so much Star Wars stuff coming out, movies, games and shows, the hype is there. FFG banks on that big time.

        Again, I am not saying the game isn’t good, I’m sure it great. I have no intentions of playing it for two reasons, first one being the pre-painted stuff and the second is the scale. Armada arguably had my interest for a while, but I’ll have to wait until they get more ships out before I commit to anything.

  • Some things to consider before the poo flinging starts:

    This is only for the US.

    This is not empirical data. “The charts are based on interviews with retailers, distributors, and manufacturers.”

    • Hussein Alobaidi

      This

    • lmn118

      Well if they asked me I would say we sell very few X-Wing related products, and even less Armada. Compared to GW which flies off the shelf X-Wing, Armada, Imperial Assault and Rebellion are dead stock.

      Halo, AvP, Dropzone/Dropfleet, Walking Dead all outsell Starwars. Battlefronts Team Yankee is very popular and their mid war FoW 4 is already selling well. Konflikt and Bolt Action are stready but Antares is also dead.

      I know our distributors are also in the process of dropping stocking various Star Wars games.

      USA might be different but that is what I’ve found in the UK.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        I think X-Wing finds greater success because it is sold at big box stores.

      • A huge chunk of GW’s sales come from the UK (despite it being 1/5 the size), so leaving that data out makes the kind of grand comparisons that commenters want to make irrelevant. They don’t do as well herein the US, partially because they don’t really try too hard and partially because the culture is different. Even given that, the scene varies widely by location in the US. In some places you’ll find people playing lots of different games and in some places it’s 40k or the highway. X-wing has an entirely different audience than the GW and PP games, so comparing it to them is misleading anyway.

        Given the general mood in the UK the last few years, I’d be shocked if a US product wasn’t having a hard time there.

        • euansmith

          I don’t think that gamers base their purchases on nationality over here. There isn’t a big “Buy British” vibe, like you might have a “Buy American” one over there. I think that sales are more based on brand recognition, and social inertia.

          • That’s good to know. My relatives in England are certainly not gamers, so I am perhaps getting a bit of a skewed view on things.

          • euansmith

            My brother almost got punched in the head at a yard sale in America when he picked up a spanner and asked the guy if he really only wanted $5 for a spanner that was obviously a rare collectible. They guy asked what made it so rare, and my brother replied, “It says, “Made in America” on the handle.”

      • marxlives

        Except Americans are the greatest consumers in world and we kicked the Brits back to their tiny island when we only had hunting rifles, and saved their butts…twice.

        • Neal Laxman

          Can’t tell if joking… let me just go with -sure buddy

    • Carey_Mahoney

      Good to know. Actually, I didn’t read the text, I only looked at the charts…

  • Jared Swenson

    Ooh this has got to hurt. For the longest time I’ve seen people use the ICV2 rankings to prove that AoS is a dead game, regardless of whether or not it’s proof of anything. Now they don’t even have this argument anymore. It really can’t be denied, AoS is picking up steam and growing.

    • Munn

      The only people who still think AoS isn’t growing are fantasy battle players who are still(somewhat rightfully) bitter. There’s an argument to be had about how much growth but it’s certainly not going to tank GW anytime soon.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Since the General’s handbook the game has really hit its stride.

    • thereturnofsuppuppers

      I don’t think gloating is that becoming.

      Surely let people wallow in the death of their game.

      Its entertaining reading at least.

  • Deathwing

    The data is wrong. The list says its for non-collectable miniature lines. GW fed everyone the line for YEARS that they were not a gaming company, they were a MODEL company and their number one target customer was the collector and hobby enthusiast. Their games and rules had nothing to do with their company wide mission statement.

    Ergo they should not be on the list. lol.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      That was the old CEO, silly. The new CEO likes games.

  • Mathias U. Monika Nussbaumer

    Still U.S. only, don´t think it´ll be the same in Europe or Asia. GW still is extremly strong in the U.K. and western Europe…

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Same in the US. I think the difference is how much X-Wing is moving inside of big box stores.

    • Carey_Mahoney

      Yep.

  • lcarowan

    Rather misleading to have Warmachine and Hordes listed seperately. The lack of any context on the differences between the listed games (in terms of sales numbers) makes it difficult to get much meaning out of this. If Warmachine by itself is above Age of Sigmar, then Warmahordes as a whole is clearly way above AoS. However, I imagine it still wouldn’t be too close to WH40k.

    • Mathias U. Monika Nussbaumer

      And if AOS and WH40k would be listed together I´m quite sure, they´d take the lead, but still I´m happy with GW having a lot of (good) competitors.

      • lcarowan

        Fair enough, but WH40k and AoS don’t use the exact same ruleset and and can’t be played against each other, so it’s not really analogous.

        • Munn

          In the end the only difference would be what’s in 5th, it wouldn’t change where AoS is.

      • kremmet

        Sure, but AoS and 40k are different games. Warmachine and Hordes are the same game and have been developed specifically to play with each other since the Hordes factions were begun. Separating them is asinine.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      They are separate games with different branding. You and I know the difference is mild but to retailers, it is different.

      • lcarowan

        Definitely a relevant details for retailers. This is retail information, not something that can really tell us about how “Big” a game is. I think most people realize this, but some certainly don’t. This type of information just shouldn’t be mistaken as useful information about the size of communities for various miniatures games. There is no such thing as the ‘Warmachine community’ or ‘Hordes community’. They are one and the same.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          I often question why they decided to completely rebrand the game when they came out with Hordes. To me, it would have been simpler to just call the whole thing Warmachine, or rebrand everything as Iron Kingdoms: Warmachine/Hordes

          • I have been told (though I have no way of verifying this), that
            Warmachine and Hordes remain distinct brands because they are in-part
            owned by different parties; Warmachine is jointly owned by Brian Snoddy, Matt Staroscik, and Matt Wilson (PP’s original founders), while Hordes is Wilson’s alone, created later and after the other two had left Privateer.

  • mikemc2

    Does this include sales from GW’s corporate owned stores? I’d be surprised if they shared their internal sales data.

    • Commissar Molotov

      It’s US-only and based on interviews – not hard sales data.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    X-Wing shouldn’t be on this list. It’s a different animal compared to games where you have to build and paint your models.

    • Raven Jax

      Along those lines, I wonder where Heroclix would fall?

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        They stuff it over in the collectible section, so it is competing against Magic, Pokemon and YuGiOh

    • thereturnofsuppuppers

      That’s interesting. It would be interesting to see how things break down.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Agreed. I wonder how well something like Bolt Action does relative to things like Infinity.

    • Hawt Dawg

      Agreed!

    • Aezeal

      Nah if it’s competition then it should be in here. Having said that.. if it’s not hard numbers even for the US only it’s not that relevant really.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    Just realized Armada got booted from the list. Makes sense, it is a bad game. Still hard to believe the makers of X-Wing (a great game) made such a poor large ship battle game. At least the models can be used in my Star Wars RPG games.

    • af

      Armada is a pretty good game. Its only fault is that some game mechanics such as the maneuver tool are a bit fiddly, and moving/touching ships is problematic (so I don’t know how this works in tournaments). This doesn’t bother me because I never play tournaments of anything, and among friends this is a great game: fast to set up, great looking capital ships, lots of decisions to make… what’s not to like?

      I’m not interested in X-Wing (though the fighters do look cool) because I already own WWI Wings of War.

  • Raven Jax

    I’m glad to see a post like this but it is a little confusing. It looks like in 2015, 40K and AoS were combined into one listing and Warmachine/Hordes were combined.

  • thereturnofsuppuppers

    People really like scifi over fantasy it seems.

    • In the US, yes absolutely true.

  • Mathew G. Smith

    I’m kind of suprised by x-wing being so dominant. In my area it died off so thoroughly the shops stopped holding events.

    • WhenDidVicesBecomeVirtues

      Keep in mind it’s a huge franchise behind it. Even my local Barnes & Noble sells it.

    • thereturnofsuppuppers

      Can’t stop Disney.

      • Daniel R Weber

        You know it was around before Disney bought Lucas, right? Lol, the Disney haters.

        • thereturnofsuppuppers

          Kinda shows you can’t stop Disney.

    • ChahDresh

      Local experiences are local. Even within the same geographic area there can be lots of volatility. In an area where I lived two years back, there were three game shops. One regularly pulled 20+ 40K players for their tournaments, another stopped having them because turnout was fewer than four players four months in a row.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Big Box stores.

      They sell X-Wing by the truck load.

    • My area is exactly the opposite. X-Wing nights at every shop in the area rival FNM in terms of attendance, and it’s even beginning to push out Warmachine in some stores… including the one on Privateer’s own doorstep.

      That’s not even accounting for the fact that big box retailers sell X-Wing. It’s hard for a product line to die off when Walmart sells it.

  • Carey_Mahoney

    Glad to see AoS back in the list. Maybe not from day 1, but by now it’s well deserved!

  • Randy Randalman

    Sigmar keeps climbing; I guarantee it will pass Warmachine this year with GHB2, as the new edition of WM/H has been a disaster. 40k will also leap back over X-Wing when they get out of campaign mode and back to a new edition. Good to see the healthy competition!

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      I don’t think 40k will actually topple X-Wing. X-Wing has far wider distribution, what with regularly being sold at Barnes and Noble, Target and Wal*Mart.

      X-Wing will peter out eventually due to content bloat.

  • Ted

    ICv2 only asks game distributors and not direct sales and direct distributions from GW to retailers (which makes up the majority of their sales).

  • Talos2

    X wing probably shouldn’t be compared to 40k etc. Painted ready to go models are a different hobby tbh

  • Daniel R Weber

    I really wish WM/H were one entry on that list, would move the entire line higher and I think be more honest in how it’s really played. Is there a top 10 for some better perspective?