A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Monday, July 12, 2010

[Connecticon 2010 Week] CTCon Week Part 1: Dwarven Forge Fantasy Starter Set Review

Yeah folks.  Connecticon has given me a plethora of new things to put to this here blog.  From product reviews to another one of my stupid photocomics showing stuff going on at the convention.

To keep my sanity and to increase my postcount, I will be breaking it up into nice reasonable chunks.

Today we start with part of Drew's birthday gift to me.  2 sets of (discounted to an amount he refuses to tell me) Dwarven Forge terrain.

(The two sets Drew kindly got me.  Today we cover the Fantasy set.)

See Dwarven Forge terrain is pretty much the BMW of miniatures/RPG gaming terrain.  The Rolex.  The "your favorite stupidly priced elite consumer item here".  Its HORRENDOUSLY expensive.  This set I will show you was MSRPed at 49 dollars.  While as we will see its nice, I don't think it is worth that much, but as in all my reviews, I hope I will give you enough information to make up your own mind.

Sorry gang.  I am not Fox News.  I tell you what I think, not what you want to hear.

(Looking right at you Lock n Load games fanboys!)

The terrain comes in a nice sturdy cardboard box with styrofoam as the bottom part of the box and the protector of your overpriced gaming status symbol.  I will also note here that these boxes are HEAVY.  I had marks in my arms from the shopping bag they were in when I slid it up my arm so I could open doors and the like to get it back to my room for the day!

(What you get inside.  It looks lovely, but its not exactly going to make a full dungeon.  Or even more than 1 or 2 rooms.)

But to summarize the contents:  you get 6 corner walls with floors, 3 flat walls with floors, 2 diagonal floors with flat walls, a bunch of hourglass like locking pins, 4 2 by 2 inch floor pieces, 2 diagonal floor pieces, and 2 opening doors.

Sadly on my very long on the shelf copy one of the doors was damaged so it only opens partially and the bottom of it is cracked and 2 of the felt bottoms have fallen off.  A little disappointing, but the set has been in a game store for probably 7-10 YEARS and probably been schlepped to multiple conventions before MagicDrew bought it for me.  I could probably ask Dwarven Forge themselves for a replacement door, but its not really worth the effort.

The pieces otherwise are VERY nice looking and are all excellently painted with a nice bit of felt on the bottom.  You can assemble the parts any way you want, and the hourglass locking pins are loose enough  so you could jiggle things a bit to make for a bit more flexibility, plus it gives some ease in taking them out.  The pins aren't even all that needed unless you or your gamegroup are full of people more known for knocking over battlefields than conquering them.

You could probably use your favorite cardstock floorplans with this stuff though there is a good quarter inch of height to the terrain.  Either ignore it, use the Dwarven Forge stuff for raised areas, or maybe even buy some foamcore or plasticard and mount your cardboard stuff on that to make it all even.

(An elite ONI Sniper hottie helps an Elf ranger on his quest to stop an evil Chaos Sorcerer from summoning eldritch horrors.  Apparently a holy man from Rokugan has used his magic to come and convince the Sorcerer to stop.  Is the Mythos allying itself with the Shadowlands and the Chaos Gods?  And where DO hot amoral sniper women working for evil corporations get off (on me hopefully.  OH GOD SO LONELY) on trying to stop their dark designs?   Oh wait.  Lawyers and anybody with an MBA are far more vile and evil than any tentacled monstrosities that are dead but not dreaming.)

Here we can see a setup using almost every piece in the set other than the hourglass pins.  (Outside of 1 for an example.  Its behind the Heroquest Skeleton.)  It makes for a nice little set good for a centerpiece or something.  Or even as a backdrop to take photos of your painted fantasy minis.

For scale showing I have (going left to right): A 30-32 mm miniature from AT 43.  A 30 mm metal D&D 3.0 era mini.  A 28mm Hero Quest Skeleton.  2 different smaller sized 25mm scale D&D 3.5-4.suck minis.  Another 28mm Hero Quest miniature.  And a 20-25mm scale Arcane Legions miniature.

I threw in some Hero Quest and some Cthulhu scenery I got as well.  Note that the door pieces from this set rest on top of the regular floor pieces and are about as wide as each flat wall section.  If you want to get fancy with the corner pieces you might not be able to fit them in without there being a gap.  The small Hero Quest doors work excellently here where as in the picture in a normal open space they are a tad too small.

(A close in shot of the terrain and the lovely paint applications.  The scenery not my prime and ignore Skeleton.  Or: "I sacrificed my beloved dog to the Dark Gods and all I got was this floating midget".)

Overall I am pretty impressed with this stuff.  However it is heavy.  It takes up a lot of space.  It is EXPENSIVE.

On my Good / Ok / Bad scale I can only give it an Ok rating with all things considered.  For the price of this tiny set you could buy FIVE sets of Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Tile sets which would give you way more flexibility, tons more pieces, and gobs more portability for about the same cost.  Plus you don't have to worry about it breaking when the CATS OF CHAOS attack, and its a little less stressful if your Donut loving player's chubby chocolate covered fingers touch some cheap cardboard that you can easily scan to use anyhow.

If this set was 25 I would give it a good rating in spite of its weight and space requirements.  Will I buy more of this?  Well... if I see it ever on sale any place or I can buy single pieces here and there I probably will.  But to say make major purchases from the company itself?

The Magic 8 Ball probably would say "outcome doubtful".

However if you have more money than me (and aren't interested in giving it to me or adopting a 36 year old nerd who talks too much) go to http://www.dwarvenforge.com/ and check it out for yourself.  Going by what little individual parts they sell, they charge about 3-6 dollars per element above based on size and complexity.

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