In Focus: D&D Miniatures Revisited
The popularity of Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures continues to grow at breakneck speed. It’s pretty amazing that they’ve sold well over a million of D&D Miniatures to date (only a little over a year since release), but it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility. After all, unlike most pre-painted collectible miniatures games, D&D doesn’t have to rely on the Collectible Miniature market alone for success, because D&D miniatures can be played as a skirmish wargame or used in any D&D RPG game, complete with a dual-sided stat card printed up and ready to go for either system.
As a game I must admit, the Miniatures Handbook is a must. While the current Starter pack includes the basic skirmish rules, the hardcover Handbook is much clearer, and is a little over 175 pages, complete with a variety of templates and tiles that can copied and used in your D&D gaming sessions. Many of the feats, spells and monsters found within the game are covered in detail within the Handbook as well. The Mass Battle and the Skirmish rules are also included, and the Mass Battle rules are a must if you want to take a stab at much larger scale wargaming with D&D miniatures. At $29.99 the Miniatures Handbook is a must if you want to truly get the most out of D&D miniature gaming.
In the way of product, the latest release is by far the most impressive yet, as Giants of Legend is not only the biggest booster of collectible miniature pieces to ever land at retail, but it debuts as you may have guessed by now, giants into the realm of D&D Miniatures. At $20 a booster they’re not the most inexpensive CMG product on the market, however, each booster contains one “Huge” scale piece and eight random miniatures. In many instances I’ve found that boosters also include a single “Large” scale creature, so at $20 it may sound expensive, but getting an extremely large piece that’s pre-painted and ready to play, plus eight more figures to boot isn’t really such a bad deal considering regular size boosters run about $12 a pop for just eight figures.
Since the initial Harbinger release, the quality of the D&D Miniatures figures has improved a great deal. They still haven’t reached current Mage Knight quality yet, but they’re definitely some nice looking pre-painted miniatures. The giants to be found include a few “Huge” dragons (gold and red), a Cloud Giant, Storm Giant, Fiendish Tyrannosaurus even a massive Warforged Titan, just to name a few. Even the common and uncommon rarity pieces are useful, with the likes of army-building figures for Orcs, Dwarves and so on to choose from in Giants of Legend. The rares are also eye catching, and in all honesty, some of the commons and uncommons look equally as nice.
Giants of Legend will definitely be a tough act to follow, but Aberrations promises to add even more variety to the product line this fall. The figures in Aberrations set will be chosen directly from key D&D titles, including Complete Divine, Monster Manual III, Serpent Kingdoms, the brand new Eberron Campaign Setting, and the first Eberron adventure, Shadows of the Last War. An updated Starter Set will also be offered based on the Aberrations release, updating the original Starter set from 2003 with an updated rulebook, new tiles, a D20, set list, etc. The figures depicted in the previews at the D&D Miniatures website shows that Aberrations aims to top Giants of Legend and Archfields in the way of figure variety and visual detail to boot. Watch for the D&D Miniatures Aberrations release this fall.
While I can’t say that even with the Miniatures Handbook that D&D Miniatures is the most robust and awesome miniature/wargame on the market, taking place in a medieval/sword and sorcery-type setting, it’s without question evolving into a unique miniature gaming experience in its own right. D&D Miniatures is definitely a better game than it was when it debuted, and it looks like it will be here to stay for some time to come based on its popularity among RPG enthusiasts and miniature gamers alike, making it truly a rare-breed.
Wizards of the Coast also recently held a D&D Miniatures World Championship tournament at Gen Con, so having tournament support is also always a plus, and their online presence is equally as outstanding, because their website is topnotch to boot. If you haven’t played D&D Miniatures yet, now is definitely a good time.