A confession: I’ve always loved looking at miniatures dioramas and terrain. I don’t play any tactical miniatures games (partly due to cost and partly because I completely lack any tactical sense), so I’ve always just admired from afar. But I always admired the setups at cons, and the first time I saw some Dwarven Forge stuff I needed new pants. But I knew that was more of an investment than I really wanted to sink into a hobby (pay no attention to the sagging bookshelf of games I haven’t ever played!!). And I’m just not crafty enough to do papercrafting.
Recently I came across some the sets of Terraclips at a local store and fell in love all over again. Configurable heavy cardboard terrain. They had a set of Buildings, Streets and Sewers out, and 3 Dungeon based sets dropping in late August (some really awesome pictures and info here). I liked the first 3 sets but didn’t love them – I thought the usefulness of streets and sewers to my personal game was limited, and the buildings were all wooden inn-like structures. But the “Vaults of Ruin” set from the new Dungeon Rise line really caught my eye. The “Dungeon Essentials” had a lot of the basics but was heavy on traps and such. The “Prison of the Forsaken” was full of torturey goodness but seemed a little specific. but Vaults had lots of crumbling walls and archways and I could see using it either for dungeons or as an outdoor ruined temple or a dozen other things. To my eye it had the greatest versatility, so I started there. I ordered a set from my Friendly Local Game Shop, and here’s what I got.
The sets retail for about $50 each, and you need at least one set of clips ($18 MSRP) to hold them together. Miniature Market has them cheaper, but once you factor in shipping it’s not that great a savings.
For the money, the box is satisfyingly heavy. And it holds a lot of pieces. Here it is all laid out:
Floors are large square, small square, long rectangle and half ruined/collapsed floors in two different sizes. There are a variety of tile designs – some are blood-spattered, some look like they have magical patterns, some have collapsed pillars and rubble on them. A good variety. All the floor pieces are marked out with 1″ squares, but they’re not super obtrusive (I also think I could use the sets of D&D dungeon tiles or Descent tiles I have as floors or even walls with very little difficulty.)
Then there are short wall pieces and tall wall pieces. There are arches and columns (you put together 2 pieces to form an X-shape). There are a bunch of little piles of rubble. There are sacophogi. There are bridge ends and railings.
And stairs. The stairs are way cool.
And if you spin the wall around you get even more precarious stairs.
And there’s a spiral staircase. I’m not 100% sure I put it together correctly, but it is very sweet.
I put a bunch of bits together really quickly and threw some minis into it. The pieces go together with the clips very easily and hold fairly sturdy. There are notches built into the pieces to guide where the clips go.
I had a little trouble with placing figures on squares where the clips were – the leaned a little precariously. But overall no complaints. It all went together very easily, although this was a very basic setup. I look forward to putting together more elaborate ones as I get more used to the set.
Storage is a little problematic. In theory the pieces all fit back into the box. I separated my pieces by type and put them into sandwich bags (the larger pieces went into gallon freezer bags) and I could just get the box closed so long as I left out the one box of large floor tiles.I can live with that. If I used fewer baggies and just put the pieces back in they’d probably fit better. Oh, and I’m keeping the spiral staircase set up. Once I confirm I have it correct, I’m gluing that puppy.
I’ll use this for a couple of D&D sessions to see how I like them before I buy another set, but I’m overall impressed.