Friday, April 24, 2009

Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures: PHB Heroes

I just got the new set of D&D Minis this week. I bought one factory box, which gave me six packages, one of each type, giving me one of each of the 18 minis. That's right. This is non-random. And all of the minis are designed to be suitable for use in the role-playing game, rather than as part of the D&D Mini game, which as been discontinued.

The non-random aspect for these sorts of minis is nice. Really, for a mini you'd use for a player in the RPG, you only need one of each type. You'd not want to players to use the same mini - that would be confusing. And even if you used it for an NPC, you still likely would only want one of a given type. That generally worked out in the random sets because the really nice, player-character use type minis were usually rares so you'd only get one or two even if you bought a bunch of factory boxes (which I did).

When I first heard the announcement that the original line of D&D Minis was being cancelled, I was a little disappointed, since I have enjoyed getting the sets, but when they announced they were changing the line to focus on the role-playing game, I was excited, because that's all I used them for anyway. Now it seems like they will have a PHB set (Player's Handbook Set) with minis for players to use, then a monster set, that is partly random, partly not (I think with one large mini visible in each box), and a partly random huge monster set (with a huge monster visible in each box). Then maybe they'll repeat that pattern. (They haven't announced any sets beyond the first three - maybe they are testing the waters).

My review of the first PHB set is good. While a handful of the 18 are actually repeats, they only reused the molds. The paint schemes are completely different. Which makes them seem fresh and also makes them usable even with the earlier ones - they look quite different. They were some of the nicer molds, too. If that was all there was in the set, I'd be disappointed, but having a few like that is kind of nice. The rest of the figures are, for the most part, really nice figures with really nice paint jobs. My favorite is the ranger holding the bald eagle and bow. There are a few figures that are what I'd consider not great, but they are servicible. The human barbarian looks kind of blah. Finally, there are four that are of races seldom used in 3rd edition - two tieflings, a "goliath" and a dragonborn (female). But even that isn't so bad. There are rules for tieflings in 3rd edition, so someone may actually use one of those. That leaves just the dragonborn and goliath as the odd figures out - the dragonborn was wholly invented for 4E, and I don't know what a goliath is, and so neither may have any use for a player in 3E. Still, that leaves 16 other figures, and since you get them non-random and could still find something to use them for, it is still good overall.

I order from now. They have the best deals, I think, for both singles and boxes. So it only cost $42 to get the entire set of 18 figures, which isn't bad. You can buy the singles cheap there, too.

So overall, I give a favorable review to these. I like what they've done with the line and I think this is a good way to make minis to support the RPG. One thing I don't like is that there is no card for each figure - not that you'd need one - I just liked it because I used the cards to keep track of what figures I had. Ultimately, you really don't need anything like that.

Oh, and each set comes with a set of (random, non random, I don't know?) ability cards for use with 4E. If I actually played 4E, I would probably find them useful and cool, but since I don't, eh, doesn't really affect my opinion of the product one way or the other.

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