It’s a big day for new editions. First I discover Green Ronin’s announcement of Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition, then I find Smirk and Dagger plans a mahoosive new edition of Hex Hex.
I can’t say the impending arrival of a new edition of Mutants & Masterminds is exceptionally surprising. Ever since Green Ronin revealed their plan to publish a DC Adventures RPG using a version of the Mutants & Masterminds system, it seemed a reasonable supposition that a third edition of the game using the same ruleset would follow along at some point. The opportunity of allowing two way movement between the core Mutants & Masterminds crowd, meaning those who will gleefully adopt the new edition, and people who are interested primarily in the prospect of a new DC Universe RPG is just too good to pass up.
My first reaction to the news was “Isn’t it awfully soon for a third edition?” Then I checked the dates: first edition hit in 2002 and second in 2005. It’s actually been longer between second and third than between first and second. Now, I think second edition’s sufficiently robust and featureful that there isn’t a particular need to improve it so soon, but again it goes back to Green Ronin not fracturing their market with “true” Mutants & Masterminds and a variant powering DC Adventures.
Now, Smirk and Dagger’s news surprises me a little more, believe it or not. First, I didn’t realize Hex Hex‘s been out of print for almost a year. Second, it’s a really interesting choice to combine the best of Hex Hex and Hex Hex Next into Hex Hex XL. It makes sense, certainly, since each set has cards that people love to play and hate to have played on them, but it’s not something one sees too often in the board game world. Carcassonne did it a couple times with its big box editions, compiling all the little expansions, and I guess some classics like Cosmic Encounter and Illuminati have as well. In addition to the “best of” elements from the prior two versions, Curt Covert’s post on Boardgamegeek.com also mentions two variants that will become available. It’s unclear at the moment whether it’s all being packaged together, or sold individually.
I’ll be interested to see what this does to the image of Hex Hex on the marketplace. I’ve always thought of it as a light game with an equally light investment. The original version and the sequel sold for a price about on par with a Munchkin set, with as much, if not rather more, replay value. It’s a light, repetitive game best suited for drinking with the buddies, but that’s okay at $25, particularly since it’s completely self-contained. If the primary Hex Hex product becomes bigger, and therefore costlier, but the game itself doesn’t significantly change, I can see consumers finding that purchase harder to justify, dollar to entertainment-wise.
Curt’s thrown his announcement thread of Boardgamegeek.com open to questions, so I’ll be interested to see the general reaction. I feel a little funny being more interested in this than the third edition of Mutants & Masterminds, but frankly, we all knew that was coming, some day or other. This was much more unexpected.