Sunday, July 22, 2007

About to enter the Dwarven Forge

I've been thinking about it for a long time...and I'm almost ready to take what could end up being an expensive plunge.

One of the things that I most loved about playing D&D when we started back in the 1970's, was the building of 3D dungeons. I used to get core board and balsam wood and we'd construct elaborate 3D mazes that stacked in levels on top of each other.

I always wanted a good, modular 3D dungeon system but nothing good ever came on the market. I tried the DungeonWorks magnetic sets with the black plastic walls. They sucked. The tiny sheet metal base board was only 10x10, the walls never quite fit together well. The magnetic strip kept falling off the wall and door pieces.

The Mage Knight 3D Dungeon would probably work fine for my purposes...but you can't find it anywhere any more. Except on eBay for outrageous sums. It also looks like it might give me some of the same fits that Dungeonworks did.

No...I was going to need something really easy to use that looks extremely real and isn't going to involve me losing even more precious life points to this hobby. That leaves really only three options. Make my own, Hirst Arts, and Dwarven Forge.

All three choices have their up and down sides. In the end, the final decision boils down to deciding which is more money or my time?

Time is winning.

When I was down at Reapercon they had a big Hirst Arts dungeon set up, and it was really nice looking. With the dungeon molds you can make anything you want...but you have to make it. You have to cast it, let it dry, build it out of individual bricks, let it dry, and then paint it guessed it...let it dry.

The Dwarven Forge pieces come fully assembled, hand painted, and ready to play...complete with felt bottoms to keep them from scratching any surface you put them on. And...they look fantastic.

Take a look at the Tavern Accessories Set.

Take a look at the Cavern Set.

Take a look at the Cavernous Lake Set.

Take a look at the Cavernous Lake Expansion Set.

Take a look at the Den of Evil Room Set.

They come professionally hand-painted and ready to go in convenient styrofoam storage boxes.

There are a few down sides to them, which is what has taken me so long to take the plunge already. First, of course, they are really expensive.

Second, I hate the bow tie connector pieces and they look crappy without them. Well, crappy is a relative term, these things look fantastic but the divits for the bow ties do spoil the effect a little. I think I can live with it, though.

Did I mention they are expensive?

OK, so the downsides don't really outweight the upsides. Since I've started photographing re-creations of the adventures we're running (as though I were the Matthew Brady of Dungeon Delving) I've really been craving nice looking backgrounds for the photos. Dwarven Forge is the best company to give me those backgrounds, bar none.

I think if I can limit myself to buying one DF set a month, I will have a really nice collection in a very short time. Especially since I'm not going to have a huge set up, only laying down pieces as in combat situations...and relying on the battle mat for most of the dungeon creation in gaming sessions.

The underground rivers, lakes, and cavern pieces are amazing. So are the above ground building sets and the furniture to go with them. And because they are modular, you can create an infinite number for floor plans for inns and other buildings from them.

For some really interesting variations on the Dwarven Forge line, visit Fantasy Mini. That's the blog in French in my side bar. He is constantly reviewing Dwarven Forge materials and showcasing interesting add ons and repaints.

The best thing, for all of you out there who say you don't like to buy me miniatures related items because you don't know what I already have....multiple sets of Dwarven Forge items are something I plan to buy it doesn't matter if I already have a set...I can always use as many as I can get my hands on.

Hint, hint!

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