Game Review: Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game and Booster Pack -

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  • Game: Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game and Booster Pack
  • Manufacturer: Wizards of the Coast

Game Review: Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game and Booster Pack

A throwback to simpler days of D&D

By Tim Janson     August 09, 2008

Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game and Booster Pack
Back in the day, Advanced Dungeons & Dragon players got along just fine with three books: The Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide. Hardcover supplements were few and far between. If you wanted new monsters, you used the ones presented in Dungeon Magazine or, Heaven forbid, you used your imagination and made your own. Today, Wizard’s of the Coast puts out a couple of new hardcover supplements a month. Sure they are optional, usually, but they also know there are scores of fanatics out there who MUST have everything. What began as a relatively simple game evolved into an overly complex grind where a rule had to be in place for everything. As the game moved into 2nd, 3rd, and now 4th editions (causing players to start all over again!) it became bogged down with feats and skills, and character kits and maybe you could actually get around to playing a game once the arduous character creation was completed.
This all leads us to the Dungeons and Dragons Miniatures Game, a melting pot of old-style RPG, miniatures play, and collectible card game rules. In many ways, the Miniatures Game takes one back to those simpler days of AD&D where you could introduce a new player in a few minutes, have a character created, and be off exploring your first dungeon. The quick start rules are exactly that. You can be playing in a matter of minutes by selecting a miniature, its corresponding stat card, and rolling the 20-sided die. Swift and simple, even younger players will have little trouble grasping the basics. The stat cards provide the characters level, Armor class, speed, attack actions, and abilities with some of the other stats coming into play once you move on to the full battle rules. The quick start is merely an introduction and you’ll want to move onto the full rules to fully experience the game’s depth. 
The developers have done a super job packing a lot of info onto the stat cards. It’s truly like a mini-version of a character record sheet. The full rules will utilize alignment as well as a cost to add figures to a “warband” for group fighting. Characters will also have special powers which can modify attacks or defenses. Certain characters also have a champion rating. These champions can influence other members of the warband by increasing the party’s attack ininiative and they also have one or more special powers. The miniatures themselves list the symbol for what set ite belongs to, the miniatures order number in that set, and the number of total miniatures in the set. It also has an icon designating whether it is common, uncommon, or rare.
The starter set comes with five miniatures, stat cards, 48-page rule book, 2 double-sided battle maps, 20-sided die, and damage counters. The Against The Giants Booster packs come with 1 huge, and 7 standard size random miniatures. The game is fun and surprisingly detailed without succumbing to endless rules. Of course, it is a battle game and doesn’t have the traditional RPG style play so you are sacrificing that aspect. Collectible card games aren’t where they were ten years in terms of popularity and it might be a tough sell for Wizards to expect people to shell out $22 for booster packs, especially if they end up with lots of duplicate miniatures.


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TayDor 8/9/2008 4:08:03 AM
If you are going to compare a miniatures game to a collectible card game, than it isn't role-playing and has no comparison to D&D in any version. And sure, WOTC craps out a ton of books, but you don't need them. I'm running a D&D 3.5 game now with only the three core books (PHB, DMG, MM).
tjanson 8/9/2008 3:06:52 PM
You're missing the point. The point was comparing the simplicity of early dungeons and dragons gameplay to the new miniatures game. And Wizards of the Coast is clearly making the comparision by USING the D&D name to capitalize on it monetarily.
mortellan 8/9/2008 7:46:26 PM
And while the minis game rambles along (despite the good review it's not a new game at all), the 4th edition of the D&D RPG(which is a new game as of june) is being dragged backward from the complexity of a pen and paper game more toward the tactical mini game instead! Why? Because the collectable minis are widely popular and they want you to buy both the RPG and minis. As designed 4E cannot be played w/o the minis aspect. Currently I am like TayDor. All I need is D&D 3.5's 3 main books.
tjanson 8/9/2008 7:58:47 PM
Mortellan...I could not agree with you more. Were still playing basically by AD&D original rules with some incorporating of 2nd ed. rules. I'ts worked for us for over 25 years.
almostunbiased 8/10/2008 7:46:24 AM
I played the Advanced D&D original rules and thought they were awesome. They were very complete and if there was a thing that came up now and then that wasn't covered we'd just make something up. It was called imagination. I haven't played for twenty years, but always thought it was a great game. The new stuff just isn't the same. I've followed it, and it's ok, but there was never anything wrong with the original. And I mean Greyhawk, not FR.
fallensbane@yahoo.com_home 8/11/2008 10:54:17 AM
First off. Clearly miniatures are not a tough sell (I run an Ebay business and they sell well). If they were that tough of a sell WotC would not keep producing 2-3 new sets each year. WotC is friggin notorious for dropping unprofitable products like a bad habit (Dreamblade anyone?) You do not need miniatures to play 4th edition (Just like you DO NOT NEED the eventual online tools to play 4th edition). These are extra bells and whistles for those who don't mind dropping some extra money to enhance their gaming. If you don't like them that's fine, You don't even need a grid map. All you need is a dm with half a brain that can keep track and tell you how far the enemies are away from you. Sure D&D Miniatures are integrated and the game is designed heavily around the miniature aspect. Why wouldn't it be? WotC is a business and they have found a way to turn a profit and kill their competition (Mage Knight minis were heavily being used for 3.5 until DND Minis) But you can grab a piece of paper and draw a quick grid on it and use spare changed, crumpled paper, some extra dice... shit even some chewed up gum to cover the grid aspect and spend little to know extra money.


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