Friday, 8 November 2013

Remember Havok?

Havok was a short-lived wargame created by Steve Baker and Bluebird Toys in 1997. It was designed as a cheaper alternative to Warhammer 40,000 and was aimed at a younger audience. The key defining feature of Havok miniatures was the use of soft, flexible plastic in production, the hand pre-painted, pre-assembled models, 35mm plastic bases and decorative sticker for the models and bases, which meant that additional paints and glue was not necessary.
Havok shared many themes with Warhammer 40,000 , including the Space-Marine-like Karn Empire, the Nexus Rebellion- who looked like Imperial Guard- and the Pteravore, whose main unit was almost identical to Tyranid Genestealers. The Karn and Nexus "Battleforms" are also not dissimilar to Space Marine Dreadnoughts.




Initially, the game was sold in "Havok Skirmish Battle Sets", which included a small force with equal numbers of Karn and Nexus units. Soon after, expansion blisters were released that included extra units, many of which were not included in the Skirmish Box. However, due to being sold through a catalogue company (Argos), it became very difficult for collectors to acquire the units they wanted (see below).



The failure of the brand to take off has been attributed to a variety of factors, mainly associated with bad marketing. Considered the main contributing factor was the fact that Havok expansion blisters could only be bought as one item from a catalogue store, which meant that it was impossible for customers to purchase specific units, as all items had the same serial number and so were chosen randomly by the staff. Bluebird Toys also released too early for the Christmas Rush and the company went bankrupt before Christmas Day. A clunky and flawed rules system (which attempted to be simpler than Warhammer) also brought down the quality of the game down, and a few collectors have recently created updated rules based on Warhammer 40,000 rulebooks.



After the company went bankrupt, many toy stores sold the boxes at lower prices, but many collectors did not realise the company had stopped selling the products. Unopened Havok boxes are now very rare, but a small minority of collectors still scour second hand shops, bidding websites and even claw machines in an effort to complete their collection. Large collection for sale are rare, but the most recent large collection to be sold had over 200 pieces and was sold for just £20 by a German collector.



Units that are of particular collectors value are the Pteravore Hound, Pteravore Screamer and Karn Heavy Weapons, as these were never released to stores before Bluebird Toys went bankrupt and so only display models exist. There were other units in production including command units for each race, (Pteravore Prime, Kia-une Commander and Tribune Commander) which never made it beyond the Prototype stage.

5 comments:

  1. My girlfriend 'treated' me to a copy of Havok back in the day, unaware it was aimed at three year-olds. Not my cup of tea to be honest!

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    1. Heh I had some, never bothered to game with them, i found thein my ''crap box'' the other day so inspired a blog post lol

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  2. I had these guys. Sad to say I got rid of them, the Nexus guys would have been brilliant for my AdMech. Never did see the vehicles anywhere but quite enjoyed it as a very basic gaming system.

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    1. They go for dirt cheap now, maybe time to pick some more up?

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    2. Really? I don't see them very often and they usually look to go for a fair whack...

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