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My feelings on DnD scape

Posted August 31st, 2009 at 04:31 PM by Hogg
I have pretty strong feelings about the New DnD release. I have been posting around the board and have compiled my postings here. Here are my thoughts and feelings on the new set:

What is added to heroscape by merging these brands? My answer is not much.

HS already has everything that DnD has, Elves, orcs, dragons, magic, and on and on.

The thing HS had going for it is how generic everything was. When you look at an orc you could see a DnD orc a LotR orc, or anything else your mind could conjur up. By concreting the themes like this it takes a lot of that away.

But relax, they'll release one Master set, show an expansion, never release it, and then kill the line.

Things I have noticed from the box text:

Einar is now a "good" general.

None of the names of characters come up on google. They must be all original.

Originally Posted by Grungebob
Well, since there is no knowing the future, I'd say that anything is possible.

I'd like to see it wrapped up and finished off. One or two more waves filling out whats missing would be a good send off.

I feel that both MtG and DnD have collapsed under their own weight. Dnd started with the Skills and Powers stuff that added on th 2nd edition, and Magic did it with the type 2 deck construction tournament stuff.

I'd hate to see HS taper off in quality, and like a retired Sumo champion, I think it should gracefully bow out and leave, rather than trying to win the title one more time in embarrasingly one sided matches like Mohamed Ali.

I don't see how the dungeon crawl aspect will work. To me, dungeon crawl is like the Heroquest board game or Diablo on the PC. You explore room after room of a seemingly endless maze hacking, slashing, and searching for treasure.

With HS, the whole board is already layed out and all the figures are visible the whole time. The SotM campaign had a element of the dungeon crawl feeling, but I don't see the game going much beyond that.

Originally Posted by Eirikr
Okay, so you clearly didn't read my post but anyway...
I am hoping that this is a successful blending of my favourite game, heroScape, and a very successful franchise which seems to be a natural fit, DnD. I just hope that the DnD sets are not the only sets in our future. I love the anything goes style of heroScape to date and I don't want to loose that. I may well loose interest in this game in the long run should that be the case.
I wish heroScape and WotC nothing but success. I hope to see MarvelScape successful as well. I will definitely buy this master set when it comes out and likely the next 2 expansions to follow, unless of course something in the MS leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but I don't expect that to be the case. If after that we don't see some true 'Battle of all Time' expansions I will likely turn my gaming attention elsewhere. I am taking a wait and see attitude, I am also making it plain that while I love the game for its mechanics I also love it for it's feel and I don't want to loose that.

These are the thing I love about HS. And I feel they have been thrown by the wayside.

What is G.I Joe? A real american hero. How do we know this? Its in the logo under his name.

What is HS? The battle of all time. For the same reasons.

What I don't want to see is:
HeroScape: The battle of recycled DnD minis

Originally Posted by GreenLanturn
An odd thought crossed my mind. The DnD minis are blind purchase (I looked up a random pack, so if I'm wrong just say). So would current DnD mini players be looking for HS to get their rarer figures? Wouldn't this give scape a kind of boon in the market? Or are these very old figures that have suffered to much power creep for DnD players to want?

I just bought all eight of the small figures for $12 online. The two bigger ones can be had for around $10 each. So, as you can see, they picked less rare/desibable figures to reprint. I expect the value of the figures to drop anyway.

So now we have more limitations on the pool of figures to draw from. They have to be scaled appropriatly to HS figs and have to be figures that aren't worth big bucks.

Originally Posted by Zarovichx
Toril is also home to an Arabian setting based on "Arabian Nights" called Al-Qadim. Maztica is an Incas/Mayan/Aztec campaign located on the planet (you guessed it) Toril. This one planet of Toril provides, Medieval fantasy, Arabian and Oriental adventures and finally New World, Early Indian civilizations.

But they don't have appropriate minis for all those thing you listed.

Originally Posted by Zarovichx
Bats, D&D has Samurai and robots. Kara-Tur is a oriental campaign that is located next to Faerun and as you can guess is on the same planet of Toril in the Forgotten Worlds setting.

Robots and aliens (the sci-fi/outer space theme) can come from Spelljammer, another D&D campaign.

Again, they don't have good, properly sized minis for most of that stuff. Spelljammer has been all but dead for a decade.

I'm still of the opinion that they will further limit their pool of minis they will use by avoiding repainting minis that are of significant value. All the small minis reused so far cost around $1 each on the secondary market.

Originally Posted by Sokol
Originally Posted by GreyOwl
Originally Posted by Hogg
Originally Posted by Zarovichx
Toril is also home to an Arabian setting based on "Arabian Nights" called Al-Qadim. Maztica is an Incas/Mayan/Aztec campaign located on the planet (you guessed it) Toril. This one planet of Toril provides, Medieval fantasy, Arabian and Oriental adventures and finally New World, Early Indian civilizations.
But they don't have appropriate minis for all those thing you listed.
Yes, but it's not like they simultaneously announced ceasing production of D&D minis as well. Everybody seems to assume they will only draw from the current pool. There's nothing to stop them from keeping both games in mind when desigining future D&D minis.
Good point!

When was the last release for Maztica, Al-Quadim, or Oriental Adventures?
1992, 1995, and 1990. We're unlikely to see them devote much energy to them.

Originally Posted by 'Scaper94
IMO, this is actually helping Heroscape. It will attract D&D players to the game, expanding the fanbase. Heroscape is far from dying.

I don't think many DnDers will convert. I imagine them looking at the new MS, figuring out that theres a dozen existing expansions that have nothing to do with DnD, and putting it back on the shelf.

Originally Posted by Just_a_Bill
Originally Posted by Hogg
My guess is there will be no flying on dungeon tiles to represent being enclosed.
Oh, I hope not! That would be extremely disappointing, because it would mean the new "dungeon crawl" theme is being implemented with invisible dungeon walls. (Talk about your cost-cutting measures! )

About the only thing that gets me excited about this D&D infusion is the slight possibility that down the road we could get actual dungeon (or cave) walls.

I might be wrong because the new dragon has wings and prpbably flying, and why would they include a flying guy in a set where he can't fly on most of the tiles.

But I do think the dungeon tiles represent an enclosed area and some imagination will be required. R˙chean's comment about grass tiles being the entrance to the dungeon seem to support this.

Originally Posted by Kroc
Personally I don't believe the fears about selling out. Like Onacarasaid in the comments, they haven't had time to develop a standard master set, so they just hobbled this one together to give us something to salivate over.

They had over a year and a half to develop something. All they came back with was the wave 10 reprints and the DnD set that is still six months out. Not exactly in a hurry it seems.

Originally Posted by Harlax
The figures may not be new, but the cards certainly will be. Don't minimize the work that had to go into creating and playtesting those.

Not to be too dismissive of the playtester's work, but I'm under the impression that there are dozens of tested army cards that haven't been released.

Woo had been sitting on a shelf since before wave 3 was done. The Capuan Glads were sitting on a shelf since wave 5.

It's not a stretch to think that they simply changed the picture on the card and gave the figure a dungeons and dragonsy sounding name.

Originally Posted by Greyelephant
And yet for some reason, he went to Aquilla.......

Yes, I assume that it is because they wanted to suprise us with an Aquilla at GC '07. But I spoke with the designer of the figure and Woo was conceived as a leader figure before the squad of monks was. His sculpt was modified into the other monks as well.

Here are some more pictures of the new sculpts. One of the main concerns I've heard is about scaling. The discussions have been about the size of the figure's heads and thickness of limbs. But the most important issue of scaling, especially in HS is height. Remember how all the figures height value is matched to the figures height in hexes?

I have taken pictures of the original DnD minis compared to HS tiles. One important note to remember is that the HS bases are slightly thicker than the DnD bases, by about a millimeter. The proper figures will be just a hair taller when they come out.


All appear to have a height of 4, except the dwarf who has height of 3. There are more pictures of the dwarf's height comparison further down.


The first two are also around 4 hexes high, but the last one is a little taller. He will probably stand out among the other squad members. I don't have the other drow yet to compare, but I should have him next week. The last drow pictured will probably earn the nickname "Stretch."

Here are some good comparison shots of the new dwarf:

His height is very comparable to other small sculpts. I don't forsee any complaints about his height.

And some of the other figures:

Shots of the new figures in their armies:

It's worth noting some detail about the figures I noticed.
Tandros Kreel's sword and arm are not molded to his body, it is a seperate limb.

He also has a bow on his back. He could have a ranged attack, though he doesn't in DnD minis.

The other three heroes have cloaks covering their backs.

The drow ears stick through their hair and are detailed.

The plastic seems lower quality and more bendable. The figures are also molded entirely in black plastic, which is why the drow skin and armor looks the way it does. The HS figures may use a different base for some of the figures.

The level of detail in the sculpture is higher than HS figures with exceptions made for Kato, Kaemon, and a handful of exquisite HS figures. This level of detail does make them stand out among the more cartoonish looking HS figures.

The paint on the original DnD minis seems lazy though, especially with one of the drow, with his hair and sword being the only painted parts. Some of the DnD minis have nice paint jobs though, which is weird and inconsistant. Hopefully the HS paint jobs will be more uniform.

I feel a lot better about this release, having now handled most of the new minis, thought I still have reservations about it. Mostly due to the abandonment of the original storyline. It's like playing a Dragonlance module and having the DM transport your character to Ravenloft without consulting you first. Sure you're still playing a RPG, but its not what you signed up for.

Originally Posted by Therrian
Originally Posted by Zarovichx
D&D could provide us with some Vydar faction members too. After all Spelljammer is Sci-fi based and is apart of the D&D realm.
Wow, ya, I had TOTALLY forgot about that campaign setting!

So had WotC . Kidding aside, I think we're unlikely to see much from Spelljammer. They haven't released anything for it in 3rd of 4th edition, so I doubt they'd devote resources to making minis for it. I did like the Spelljammer setting a lot though, how cool is it to fly from Toril to Krynn?

To the OP: I think the generals for the troll and dragon are still in the air. GB or WotCPBNJ confirmed the Drows fight for Utgar, but I think that's all we've heard (its hard to keep up with all the tread though so I could be wrong.) We do know that both the troll and dragon are evil, but not that they go to Utgar nessecarily. I think the factions could be juggled around a little here and its not too much of a stretch to think that Vydar could have teamed up with Utgar and summoned another black dragon.

Originally Posted by Greyelephant
The Drow do indeed fight for Utgar. I'm waiting/hoping to see if one of those Einar figures become an Ullar follower once the set is finally released.

I think they'll both stay with Einar. I think Einar just replaced Jandar as the Hero general. Kreel will got to him if thats the case. And I think the cleric will stay with Einar too, becuase they may be giving a healer character to each general and Ullar already has Sonlen.

Ullar may have turned evil and summoned the troll but I doubt it. I think he's crying in a corner with Vydar somewhere.

Here are some more pictures of the new figures. I didn't have the last drow from the squad or the troll for the last group of photos, so here they are.

The new drow appears to have a height of 4.

The troll's height is around 7. He is a hair (literally, his topknot) above the 7th hex. The angle in the picture isn't the best.

Here he is compared to some similar figures. He is very close in size to the Dumuteff Guard.

A couple shots of the drow squad grouped together. All the drow squad figures have shields with spiders embossed prominently on them. One of these drow figures has a power in DnD that lets him summon a spider from his shield or something.

The one with the sword raised over his head seems out of place with the other two. He is much bigger in the torso and taller, his hair is also painted differently. New paint might be able to make him blend in better. Also, in HS the common squads tend to be more similar amongst each other than unique squads do. This leads me to believe these guys will be unique.

Here are some pictures of the troll's base. It is round instead of oval which will be changed for the HS version. I just thought it is interesting to see how DnD bases fit (or don't) with HS hexes. I think it will prevent a complete merger of the games.

A shot of all the new figures except the dragon.

And some produce durability testing with a spare drow.

And a shot of the same drow a few moments later. The one on the left was the contorted one. Both figures I own of this sculpt have the same leaning problem and one of them was fresh out of the package like that. He also had a small plastic tray protecting his sword from being bent.

Originally Posted by Jaz1597
That said, I'm actually starting to look forward to the new master set, thanks (in no small part) to Hogg's excellent pictures.

Thanks for the plug.

I don't like the new set, but I'm also warming up to it in spite of myself.

I'm mostly concerned about the departure from the storyline and CVNs concept of the game. I want to see Aquilla Kyrie, more Soulborgs, Marro, historical earth units (not DnD samurai,) and Cyber Gorillas. I hate to see HS become something else when it already incorporates so much.

I want cartoony, generic caricatures that I can imagine to be whatever I want them to be, like the KMA who can be figures from the Matrix, Men in Black, actual Israeli Krav Maga commandos, the guy from Transporter, or whatever your imagination takes you to. Its harder to do that with Gromdor the Elf who lives in Cormyr and is a level five, Neutral Good, dual class fighter/cleric. Or iconic characters like Eiminster if they ever bring them into DnD.

I feel the use of DnD themes is redundant and extremely limiting in terms of what we will see in the future. I really don't want to see pathetic attempts at passing DnD figures off as Marro or Soulborgs. It would be sad to see a game this awesome stoop to something like that.

It feels like one part of a game that encompassed so much is going to eclipse the whole thing. It's like when if spinoff TV show replaced the original and wasn't as good. Can you imagine if Star Trek TNG was replaced by the Worf show. It would be OK but not nearly as great as watching the big picture with all the characters interacting.

A big part of what makes HS special is the variety. If you don't like, say, historical units, theres other things to focus on. Each release has had variety. I personally shift my focus from time to time, it keeps the game fresh.

I hope the expansions get dropped like marvel and we go back to our regular programming.

I'm not in that camp. HS has great gameplay and offers tons of strategy and all that good stuff. But so do tons and tons of other games. I enjoy Heroscape because of the theme. A departure from it would be less fun for me and I would go play one of the thousands of other games avaliable to me. The fact that I choose Heroscape out of the 1000s of other games should be a testament to the success of its formula. I have emulators of almost every video game ever made so I am literally choosing Heroscape out of tens of thousands.

If theme were not so critical to making the game entertaining, then we would have quit developing games right after chess came out. It would have been called the perfect game and that would be the end of it.

But people want theme involved in their gaming experience. Its what sells copies of Monopoly and Life to people who already have it. Its why some kids want to play candyland and some like chutes and ladders. Its one of the primary reasons I play Heroscape. I like watching Vikings and Robots fight Aliens and Werewolves. I like inteacting with the little figures and landscapes and sitting back, looking at the board, and taking in the scene during the game. I could just play final Fantasy Tactics, which for all intents and purposes is the exact same game if I were just in it for the gameplay.

I used to play DnD but I don't anymore because I got sick of the themes. There's only so many times I can play through the same iconic situation of storming Soth's keep or sneaking through a cavern of dark whatever. I can only take so many jokes about encountering Tarrasque. I played it. I enjoyed it. I'm done with it.

I also felt some aspects of DnD were really cheesy. Intellect devourers, which are big brains on four legs that eat your intelligence score, seemed really stupid to me.

Yes, DnD basic rules leave open a universe limited only by your imagination, but it was a lot easier to make the game your own thing back in 1978. Thats when if was closer to GURPS. Now it is 2009 and DnD has evloved, with campaign settings and iconic characters. Drizzt is Drizzt and Elminster is Elminster. There are 1000s of novels cementing these and other characters identities. These are the limitations I don't want to see imposed on Heroscape. They have obviously chosen to do this by picking thems from Forgotten Realms and Underdark. We know from
that the figures will be drafted from Abeir-Toril. It's a lot easier to bend your imagination around a figure from Feylund, with about 3 pages of backstory, and imagine he's something else, that it is to do the same with a figure from Toril without about 300,000 pages. The new theme is too specific to have the "Battle of All Time" feel. What expansion has ever had figures that all come from the same planet?

So basically, if this is the direction the game is going, then I will be parting paths with it. I've still got 9000 games I haven't even played yet.
Total Comments 2


Jexik's Avatar
As I understand it, the figures do have new names, so they should probably have new backstories.

I can sense your apprehension (what I can tell of it anyway- it's hard to know exactly who the quotes are and which are your thoughts at times), but I think we should just wait for the cards.

But I've never been a huge theme guy. I play for the mechanics.

I'm also not sure why people think that D&D is so limited thematically. There's a ton of stuff in those monster manuals.
Posted August 31st, 2009 at 08:22 PM by Jexik Jexik is offline
Kaiser Cat's Avatar
This is amazing.
Posted January 9th, 2011 at 09:45 AM by Kaiser Cat Kaiser Cat is offline
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