Hell Dorado’s world-wide release

By tgn_admin
In News
Jan 27th, 2011

Hell Dorado coverCipher Studios has begun releasing Hell Dorado miniatures.

From their announcement:
Cipher Studios is pleased to announce that the world-wide release of Hell Dorado has begun. This miniatures skirmish game originating in France will be released in 4 different languages and distributed all over the globe. Throughout the next 18 months the entire current line of Hell Dorado models will become available to distribution. And not only will we release all of the characters and troopers that are already out, we will also bring you 6 brand new models for the game: one character for each faction.

These new Hell Dorado figs have already begun to hit the shelves. At the crest of this new wave leads the indomitable Augustinus Raimond of the Westerners. On the heels of this close combat beast will be Husaym al Dinn, a djinn, fighting for the Saracens with blood soaked blades and an in-your-face combat style.

We have been working furiously to bring you Hell Dorado. Coupled with the improbable amount of bad luck in the first month’s release, it has seemed as though we have been through Hell itself to bring you this new miniatures game. Having overcome these obstacles getting out our initial wave of releases, we are now on target for shipping the second wave to distribution. The English product has now shipped and the product with translated text will be leaving our warehouse shortly. Cipher Studios has been successful in bringing minis fans Anima Tactics in 4 different languages for 5 years now. Because of this, we will be able to implement the same plan with Hell Dorado easily.

And yes, the rulebook is almost ready for print. We have finished all writing and editing. Edited sections have been passed along to our foreign partners for translation and to our layout team, which is in its final stages as I write. You will have it in your wanting hands in no time. Once the book is at the printer, we’ll be able to give a more exact time of release.

Thank you all for believing in us and hanging in there these last couple of years while we were getting Hell Dorado back into the gaming community, on an even bigger scale than before. We look forward to bringing you these amazing models, growing the already incredible community, and expanding the rich world of Hell Dorado.

  • GS_topcow

    absolutely AWESOME!

    Sarracens representin’ in Venezuela for sure…

  • wildger

    One of the very few miniatures that may make me paint again.

  • evernevermore (John)

    Interesting – lets see how this goes

  • looks at calendar
    looks at Hell Dorado

    Gentlemen, you’re a bit late, but we’re glad to see you all the same.

  • BoosterX

    When the English rulebook is out, then I’ll believe it.

    • Veritas

      I’m with the Ewok on this one. Especially considering it took Cipher absolutely forever to realease the Anima Tactics main book.

      • PanzerKraken

        Anima Tactics had the benefit that it didn’t need the rulebook to play it. The rule book was basically just an update

  • blkdymnd

    Let me get this straight. 18 month plan involves releasing what already had been released a little time ago, and 6 new models? In 18 months?

    • Zac

      Is there a question in there somewhere?

      • blkdymnd

        Its just incredible that a weak release schedule is part of their ‘big’ announcement. 6 new models in 18 months just doesn’t seem the least bit impressive is all.

        • Zac

          They are recasting and rereleasing a new game in multiple languages. And getting it to distributors. It sounds like a lot of work to me.

          • blkdymnd

            Haven’t they already had a 2 year headstsart with that phase?

          • Zac

            Don’t know. Do you?

          • blkdymnd

            Well, you reported in September of 2009, that they aquired the license, so year and a half anyway. And I’m trying to give an opinion that I feel is important. 6 models in 18 months will not keep those except the hardcore fans interested, and yet I get these overly coy responses from you. I am very leary of Ciphers ability to produce this game well, and this announcement doesn’t fill me with confidence.

          • PanzerKraken

            They got the license but hadn’t started work on it for some time after. They had to wait to get alot of the materials transferred over they had said so there was delays along with having to start a quite a bit of it over such as repackaging, getting sculptors in line and planning for the continuation of the line, and the whole multiple language thing which has always been a hurdle in their releases of Anima.

          • GrimDog

            I’m with you man. I love HD but I about cried when I heard it was cipher who got the license. Almost 2 years and no rulebook (which was well on it’s way of being translated when asmodee canned hd) and now only 6 new models I the next year and a half? Seriously?

          • Jens

            According to their forum due to license issues and whatnot all details weren’t final until late summer last year. I would have preferred a more realistic time schedule at that stage, but at least now things seem to be on a good track. I don’t doubt that they have been working hard and a rushed start would likely be worse in the end.
            As someone who already owns the old range I’d very much wish for more releases, but from the point of view of all those who didn’t give the game a try before their release schedule seems good to me. In average most factions have around 20 unique models, e.g. you get for your faction of choice about 1 model each month and if you add some mercenaries to your force a bit more.

  • maelgrim


  • Lobo82

    Well, “hoo-ray” for the big news and for the rulebook that is “almost” ready for print. And what about the English cards for the models ? They should have been made available a long time ago, and I still can’t see any news regarding them. Will they be available in some printed form to buy or a PDF to download ? Will they be available at all ? Or am I supposed to buy all the models AGAIN, just for the cards ?

    • Nightbee

      Cipher are still “thinking about” how to handle card distribution, reportedly.

    • The cards will become available in both PDF or purchasable from our store after each release. The first wave will be up next week. Why not print them all now? Well, we are already printing many thousands of cards in English, French, Spanish, and German for each release. Printing them all at once would be hundreds of thousands of cards which is a lot of money.

      • Lobo82

        Then why not release them all in PDF now ?

        • Toqtamish

          Cards are available for download on cipher studios downloads page in 4 different languages. Full color too.


    Great news! Best of luck in making helldorado sucessfull. Some of the best fantasy miniatures do need a nice place in the sun. I wished someone also picked up things like Ilyad or Confrontation old metal range and give them a second chance… On the same note I also wish alkemy gets another chance… Sorry for offtopic but I get exited when I see good minis saved and not simply discontinued or forgotten.
    Keep up the good work and very curious to see new characters.

    • Xenon_Wulf

      Psst. Alkemy’s been picked up by Studio 38. So the state of things might change on that one.

      • NAVARRO

        Yeah I do hope they manage to keep Alkemy alive… I’m a big fan of carrasco’s sculpts for Alkemy, top quality.

        • I have every single model currently released for Alkemy. It would make my year to see them stick around and produce figs under Studio 38.

  • GrimDog

    So, the rulebook is “ultra secret almost ready” as opposed to the almost ready it was in oct, nov, dec…

    As voiced earlier, until the rulebooks comes out, uncensored, I will be passing. Damn shame a bigger company didn’t pick up this license it looks like it is going to suffer the same horrendously slow release schedule that Anima Tactics deals with.

  • abbysdad

    I hope that Cipher is successful with this venture. Everytime something like this works it grows the population of gamers and brings more people into the market. Everytime someone’s crazy idea works out more people are inspired to try new projects too, which bring more people into gaming and the cycle continues.

    I appreciate how hard it must be to do what they’re doing. I’m glad they’ve chosen to update the fans regularly with whatever news they feel they can share. Hopefully the people waiting for the new minis won’t have much longer to wait. The minis from this line were amazing and it will be good to see them in production again.

  • Let me clear a few things up.

    The early comment on the release schedule, we will release the 100 or so currently designed products over the next 18 months as well as 6 entirely new characters. After that period we will release around 3-5 new products a month.

    On the delay on our original announcement in September 2009 to the current launch. Effectively we’ve only had the materials we need to produce this game since late August ’10. Immediately after our announcement of acquiring Hell Dorado, Asmodee restructured and the chaos of a whole 2 waves of people in charge of sorting out the contract details held up things for about 9 months. We weren’t able to kick anything into high gear until the prolonged re-negotiations concluded.

    In a short amount of time we have had to, among other things:

    1. Adapt production to use the new materials and molds including 2 weeks of sorting unlabeled molds while losing over 3 weeks of production backing up the other 4 products we manufacture.
    2. Edit 67 pages worth of errata and updates for the rulebook and cards.
    3. Translate the last 20% of the book that was left from Asmodee including 40 pages of the errata.
    4. Write the Immortals section and various other pages.
    5. Three waves of edits on the rulebook to ensure a native English language level product. Editing by an English teacher, Novelist, game designer, and one REALLY detail oriented employee. If anyone voices a problem with ‘bad translation’ it was either a typo or they just don’t like how we wrote something.
    6. Create, redesign, rebuild, and layout all print assets of the game including packaging, cards, the book, images, etc. I personally did a good portion of this and it was a LOT of work.
    7. The pile of work it takes to coordinate and solicit the game with a dozen distributors while also trying to get the game localized (translated) into Spanish, German, and of course re-produced in French.

    We have been chomping at the bit along with the most avid fan to get Hell Dorado out. Since the launch of the game of Hell Dorado in France I’ve been begging my friends at Asmodee to let us localize the game in English. No one is more pained then I am of the delays.

    I will comment on the tired discussion of censorship since it just won’t go away. First or all, accusations of censorship of a product we now control with the full permission of the original publishers is invalid. Disagreement with our decisions on the direction we take the product are valid and we will take those comments under advisement. Furthermore, we have removed nothing of substance from the rulebook whatsoever. The Asmodee developers recommended one aesthetic change which we agreed with. There is a significant net gain of gritty diabolical content.

    We will show sample pages of the rulebook next week and at least 180 pages are completely done in lay out.

    I hope that assuages most of the concerns currently expressed and we are extremely excited to be under way.

    • GrimDog

      Thank you for the detailed rundown. The delays make much more sense now.

    • mkcontra


      something.> If anyone voices a problem with ‘bad

      translation’ it was either a typo or
      they just don’t like how we wrote


      I reserve the right to be one of the latter 😀

      • LOL. Totally meant to do that…It’s a good thing I’m not an editor.

    • mathieu

      Three waves of edits on the rulebook to ensure a native English language level product. Editing by an English teacher, Novelist, game designer, and one REALLY detail oriented employee. If anyone voices a problem with ‘bad translation’ it was either a typo or they just don’t like how we wrote something.

      I’m glad to read you learned from your mistakes on the poor AT translation (which was far from just typos) and put a lot of work into ensuring the one of HD is good. Thanks for that.

      The pile of work it takes to coordinate and solicit the game with a dozen distributors while also trying to get the game localized (translated) into Spanish, German, and of course re-produced in French.

      I’m not sure I get that last part. You mentioned earlier that you weren’t planning on translating the book in French. Has this changed? If so that is very good news!

  • Repeter

    I don’t get how peeps are saying Anima Tactics suffers from slow production. While a few models have been delayed, has anyone checked out the fairly big number of available minis? Plus, the rules are tight and the game is a blast–they’ve done alright by me.

    Games like AT and Hell Dorado don’t need big production schedules. The games don’t use enough figures to merit it.

    I’m quite exited to see Cipher get this ball rolling and they can count on my $$.

  • Mananarepublic

    Have seen the new casts, have two of the new starters at home. I am a big fan of the game and I will continue to be a big fan of the game. I think Cipher is a perfect buyer of the license – who else that is bigger would have even been interested in picking it up? It fit their game library without cannibalizing on business and I am selfishly happy that the “base” language of the game will now be English (even though I am sure some of the darker images will disappear due to where it will be produced). I think it is more important that the sculptors are still involved than that it has taken time.. It is not like I have been waiting every day for new HD minis to be released because I was unable to play the game with the minis that I had… Hating is only fun if you are 15 and the person you are hating on is smaller than you.

    Thank you Cipher for bringing back a game I thought was lost, best of luck with the sales!


    PS: The products are in the latest distribution magazines so you can check out how they are packaged and MSRP if you really want, just ask your LGS to have a look.


      Yeah I also dont get why people espect always so much, I mean having a cool game with some of the best minis still around is a luxury many other cool ranges didnt have… For that alone a BIG thank you Cipher! Not only that but 6 new minis thats not a huge number of minis but it shows things are evolving for HD and thats a very good sign.

      I need to ask Mananaman the casting is good on new HD?

      • Mananarepublic

        The casting is good! They are using a different metal than the original though (feels like it might be a little harder). Please note that I don’t have any duplicated so I can’t say anything about the LOD/mold lines – but they are about on the same level as good Rackham. I am painting the saraccens starter right now and I am loving it! 🙂

        The Doppelsoldner Captain was new to me – but that is a great sculpt!


        • NAVARRO

          Good news then. Minis with so many details do need a good casting and I’m glad Cipher did a good job on that department. Another step in the right direction for HD.

  • Mahrdol

    I am actually looking forward to a smaller release schedule. I have about a $500 worth of unpainted troll blood miniatures I don’t use because I can’t keep up with the painting(I don’t play with unpainted miniatures). If cipher provides scenario and tournament support I think 3-5 releases of really cool miniatures with some unique rules should keep people interested. I could probably buy almost all of the faction with much less commitment then I currently put into hordes. With more variety of factions I will be more interested in the long run.

    I think when people talk about censorship of the product most are probably referring to nudity. I think the loss of nudity is inevitable if you are going to release it here in the USA. We seem to be over fixated with nudity. Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with nude miniatures and hopefully they will continue but I can understand why they probably won’t….

    I think there is a lot of interest for this game. Lets hope there is no more stumbles.

    As far as the rule book I would rather wait for well polished, play tested and edited book then one rushed out the door.

    I noticed both coolmini and warstore sold out Augustinus Raimond. Good sign right?

    • GrimDog

      Not so much nudity as it is angel rape.

      • Rich_B

        Yup, I’m guessing that picture may be the aesthetic change…

  • HairyDave

    I stayed away from HD waiting for the English translation to appear – I might be able to give it shot now.

    And if all else fails I get some more pretty minatures to use with Song of Blades and Heroes 🙂

  • I’m excited by this move. I visited with the guys at Gen Con, and the product literally arrived hours before close of the show room on Wed. night.

    I have no reason to believe that Cipher, or any other company for that matter, chooses to have things delay a release schedule, and in this case, there was apparently a huge investment in time, money, resources, manpower, and more, just to get the license and materials shipped from France.

    Good luck Cipher, I want to play this game.

  • cannondaddy

    I’m not sure I’ll the extra income and/or time to start playing Hell Dorado, but if I did it would totally be all about making some really cool Hell terrain.

  • jedijon

    Let me posit that 18 releases – 3 per faction, in said 18 month period would make SO MUCH MORE DIFFERENCE that it’s hard to underestimate.

    People don’t really want to argue with Cipher Kai about why it’s taken two years to get to the cusp of material action – that’s all just excuses now. We could say – why didn’t you just buy a copy of the French book the day you won the bid; or just as easily sympathize with the innumerable woes that betide those small companies out there with a whole ‘lotta heart. C’est la vie.

    Deep down, we all know that WE didn’t make a miniatures game in the last two years while we were either waiting for – or waiting to decry – Helldorado. But it seems fairly obvious that giving the American market it’s playground with this game for 1 and a half years…while the rest of the world gets 6 new figures…and the savvy American consumer is likewise assailed with this fact…is going to challenge both the faith and patience of many a would be player.

    It’s tough to give people what they want 😉 But…I think it’s pretty clear what that is.

    • I didn’t realize the world consists of only America and France. 🙂 We are also releasing the game in German and Spanish for the first time…and the UK and any other market that primarily buys English hobby products not localized in their language.

      As we’ve stated from the beginning, if we release more new products the other languages would never catch up without flooding the market with too many releases. Already we are fitting over 3 years of He’ll Dorado releases in half the time.

  • Zac I hope you don’t mind me posting a link but Alliance Distribution’s Game Trade Magazine has a sneak peek of 9 pages of the rulebook.


    • GrimDog

      Looks like it’s worth the wait. Can’t wait.

    • Xenon_Wulf

      I see a small editing/layout mistake on that last page of the preview, but otherwise it looks wonderfully close to the original French book. Kudos!

      • If you see anything let us know. We will do a layout proof edit right before the whole thing goes off to print so what you see is before that pass.

    • Veritas

      I hope some of the French humor survived in the translation. Like the one about contact counting as when two miniatures touch. The author stated that if people abused the rule and converted models with like 6″ long spears or the like to give them extra reach you and your playgroup were well within your rights to give said an acid bath. Or somesuch. I haven’t read the book in like 3 years so my memory may be slightly off. The spirit of the quote is the same, though.

      • BlazeXI

        I am not a fan of the french Hell Dorado humor, especially the sesolving of disputes was lame (who slaps the opponent in the face wins). There are many games coming from non english language countries, that suffer because of bad translation. This game is a prime example. And apparently it is very good.

  • blkdymnd

    There is some of the original French effects on the table on Page 82, not in English.

  • Morf

    So a company that had proven to keep a steady constant stream of releases for a good couple of years, is known for high production standards and just announced a release of a ton of models gets some scorns?
    Releasing all models at once is a business suicide.The stores will refuse to carry a line that has so many SKUs to start with.
    For most of us these models are old and we can hardly consider them news. But let’s face it – Hell Dorado’s international presence so far had been faint at most, so for 90% of the retail worldwide it will be very fresh and new.

    As for big companies picking up the game – have anybody seen PP, GW and FFG fighting for the rights for Hell Dorado?

    • Lobo82

      As for big companies picking up the game – have anybody seen PP, GW and FFG fighting for the rights for Hell Dorado?

      Unfortunately not. And now I expect a drop in Hell Dorado’s quality, seeing the previewed part of the rulebook, which shows rather sloppy translation at times.

      Like for example: (in the the text about Von Holbein) “Wolfgang’s personal page” instead of something along the lines of “Wolfgang, his personal page”. And that’s a rather big difference in the meaning, not some typo.

      • TylerT

        i cant speak to the writing but Cipher’s minis engineering is worlds better then asmodee’s.

        • Lobo82

          Well, being kind of an aesthete, I’d like overall quality of the game to be as top notch as Asmodee’s – take for example those little quotes from Goethe’s “Faust” on the old starter boxes or Cortes’ banner motto on the (also old) Westerner Starter.

          These may be just little things, but for me they added a nice sense of depth to the game. Besides you know what they say – “the devil is in the details” 🙂 And something tells me I shoudn’t expect such intricacies anymore … A real shame.

        • mathieu

          i cant speak to the writing but Cipher’s minis engineering is worlds better then asmodee’s.

          Do you mean miniatures casting quality? If that is the case I don’t think I could disagree more. Cipher models for AT are nice, but nowhere near as flawless as most of the HD models I bought from Asmodée were. Being able to use lead in the pewter mix makes a HUGE difference, and while I’m sure Cipher will do a very good job I’ll be surprised (and impressed!) if they reach the same level.

          • TylerT

            i will forgive the casting quality, given i’m not sure if they have had time to re master the molds yet (I think they are using the exact same molds as assmodee, they are just older now)

            what i mean by engineering is how the miniatures are broken down into various pieces. for the most partCipher has been doing this very well with AT, making sure to use large connections for easy assembly and pinning.

            The immortals box set minis have the cuts in all the wrong places making assembly difficult. and some things are just super hard to pin, like the dragon summoner’s arm and back banners. also that guy with the buckets, tiny little connection points supporting so much weight.

  • bork da basher

    im really looking forward to playing HD again. the rulebook cant get here fast enough but id rather wait for a perfect book than have a rushed book that needs a FAQ half its size to sort out. good luck with the release.

    id be really interested to hear if theres any plans to support an official tourney scene but i suspect its much too early to talk about that.

  • Morf

    Engineering = model’s cutting I believe.
    I still have HD related nightmares after trying to assemble some models.

    Yes, lead allows more detail at the same time makes the model less prone to bending, lead makes them more brittle and even a slight fall may dent the sculpt.
    I think it is a trade off, in my book, for gaming, I would always take Cipher or PP alloy over HD or Confrontation.

  • mathieu

    I can’t think of any model I had a hard time assembling. Except maybe for Eurynome, but the intricate volumes and details sort of dictated a complex cutting. On the contrary I thought the cutting was very cleverly done on some of the larger pieces, such that the joints were almost completely concealed.

    I do agree about the trade off, lead alloys tend to be more brittle indeed. I only ever had poor experiences on very thin pieces though, and I tend to be more interested in highly detailed models. Not that PP or Cipher don’t have a few very finely detailed pieces, of course, they just don’t get near HD level in that department.

  • Ghool

    So, Helldorado gets picked up, and there’s delays for obvious reasons.
    Yet, there’s still people complaining about the release schedule,
    and which company picked it up?
    I think it needs to be put in perspective here;

    Helldorado could be a DEAD game gathering dust
    in a warehouse in France.

    I think the alternative is worlds better than that.
    Kudos Cipher, I’m glad to see a good game with cool minis
    back on the scene, AND in english.

    • Mananarepublic

      I would expect nothing but sound thoughts like that from you Ghool 🙂


  • GS_topcow

    Ok, did anyone check Cypher Kai’s link? that is one GORGEOUS book!

    • mathieu

      The previewed pages are exactly the same as the original book, so that gives a good idea to people who saw the French version of what the final product look like.

      On the other hand I’m less impressed by the significant number of mistakes or oddities: untranslated text in Baptiste damage table and in the letter on the last page, bits here and there that certainly don’t sound that they were edited by an English speaker, and apparently a couple of parts that were modified in an errata a while back but didn’t make it to this translation. That’s a bit much for less than 10 pages of preview.

      • Lobo82

        I couldn’t agree more, the preview shows a book which seems “rushed” despite it supposedly being “almost ready” for several months now. Besides – if I recall correctly – it was reportedly in the advanced stages of translation already back in Asmodee times. So how can it be “rushed” after all is beyond me.

        • Zac

          Magazines have a three month lead time. Those sample shots are probably very old.

  • Disclaimer : I’ll keep mentioning it but those layouts are not final edited layouts. We quickly created them for GTM as a sneak peak early preview. Think of it like insider peak of a movie before the special effects are added. The stats are think hadn’t be changed over from the original files yet. Also, while most errata was included, our development team along with some of the original French play test group’s input simplified, revised, or excluded a small amount of the errata and rules updates for clarity and play experience, and no, we did not make sweeping changes the destroyed the game.

    On another note…No offense to non-English speakers, and we do love you, but it’s odd that on all Non-English to English translation projects I’ve worked on (a lot at many different companies), the questioning of whether it sounds ‘native English’ have been primarily from non-native speakers. I’ve even had to mitigate a conversation between a native-born-and-raised-in-the-US English Literature Major and a non-native speaker where the Lit. Major was accused of not sounding ‘native speaking’ on a section he’d entirely written from scratch. Sound silly? It was. Not all written text will be pretty, grammatically correct, or even correct. That doesn’t mean it isn’t written from a ‘native speaking’ point of view. I stand by my statement that most complaints about translation are really disagreements on the way we decided to say something…as native English speakers. Hell, I’m sure this post isn’t grammatically correct in several places. 😉

    • mathieu

      On another note…No offense to non-English speakers […]

      Non taken. To be fair though, native speakers (and from my experience Americans in particular) tend to be more lenient about their own language than foreigners who had to learn it the hard, strict way. That said it seems a bit prematurely defensive given that you admit this preview was quickly put together for GTM a few weeks ago, was modified since, and therefore probably does contain material that had yet to be proofread by an “English teacher, Novelist, game designer, and one REALLY detail oriented employee”.

      As for your other Non-English-to-English translation projects, no offense to you guys either but you did do a less than stellar job on the Anima Tactics book. And it is far from having only to do with how native English it sounds. The pages are literally riddled with typos that any word processor undoubtedly picks up, so a couple of proofreading steps were manifestly skipped. I definitely understand having to rush the end of a project, but this one hardly illustrates how if people don’t like your work it only has to do with disagreement on the way you write.

      Like I mentioned here and elsewhere, I’m really thrilled and grateful that you went the extra length to ensure the translation on HD is top notch. It sounds to me that you learned from these comments you got on AT, and I really respect that.


    I’m not a native english speaker and as long as its simple english easy to read then I’m happy, I mean I understand some fans wanting total purity in translations but thats not very realistic… there’s always some compromises when converting text from one language to another and to be honest its one of those small details that dont really spoil the HD experience.
    If many of us, and I see some familiar names here, put up with rackham hybrid and many times not clear english texts just because the minis the art etc was so great then from my prespective and looking at this native english translation this is a lot better and even if theres a stinker here and there come on, dont confuse one tree with the wood 😉

  • Lucas Blackwolf

    Happy to see the game live on, but I hope it retains the Edge; all the little things that made it intelligent, deep and genuinely scary (like the mentioned Goethe quotes, the page 69 illustration and the fact that it’s quite hard to define most factions in terms of good and bad). I hope it will not get changed in a way that should supposedly enable the american gamer to get into it more easily, while loosing these things (as in get dumbed down). Might seem like minor details, but as Lobo82 put it; that’s where the devil is – it’s one of the things that make it different from any other fantasy skirmish game with “demons” and monsters. For me personally, the richness of background is cruical to make me want to return to the game and tell new stroies through it.
    Might sound like an overblown sentiment, but there it is …