Sunday, January 10, 2010

Heroscape: Dungeons and Dragons Arrives

My new copy of Heroscape: Dungeons and Dragons dropped off the back of the big brown truck this week. Engaging mental shield as I noticed the "For Ages 8 and Up" on the cover, I greedily popped open the box for a look.

First, let's be clear.... this is not the same value as the original Heroscape Master Set that included something like 40 painted miniatures, many of them quite large, and more terrain that could ever be forced back into the box. This set includes ten. But, for a $25 price tag (on-line), this isn't too bad, considering there is still a healthy portion of terrain, glyphs, and other odds and ends.

Next, the rulebook. I have to say I felt better inside when I hefted the thick rulebook and dropped it down on the table with a nearly-graphic-novel-sized smack (cue billowing clouds of dust, scrolls scattering, my winged familiar chittering off to hide in a dark corner... but I digress). The rules do a good job in incorporating all the various loop holes and FAQs that have been discussed and patched over the past few years. Yes, the game is relatively simple, perhaps along the lines of say Memoir '44, but the system is also now quite tight (cue Michael), with fans being actively involved in development.

On to the scenarios. There is a fairly lengthy linked campaign included in the rulebook, with connected modular areas in a dungeon, giving the game almost a Descent-like feel, without all the spawning. In addition, WotC have posted five more scenarios on their website, plus the developers posted another official one at, this time using some of the prior module materials and figures for more advanced play.

Lastly, the miniatures themselves. Before this set was released there was a fair amount of teeth gnashing about WotC recycling D&D CMG miniatures into Heroscape lowering the overall quality of the game. I have to say, I'm actually pretty impressed with what came in the box. The large Troll figure in particular looks like he stepped right out of the original Monster Manual. The Black Dragon could be bigger, but has nice detail. The Drow are suitably evil looking, and the adventurers are.... okay. These are definitely not showcase quality paint jobs, but they're probably about as good as any average gamer could ever paint. I've seen some CMG stuff that is certainly better (HorrorClix Alien vs. Predator, for instance), but these will work just fine.

So... this appears to be the future of Heroscape. The next expansion wave is supposed to arrive in March 2010 and will be 100% D&D figures. I suppose this is okay, as we have plenty of robots, space marines, and the like to mix in. I'm still bummed the Marvel line stopped at the original release set, and I am still hoping for more WotC-licensed content coming into the game (Star Wars?). In any event, this is good value for $25, particularly if you have some youngsters to game with.



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