On July 21st Wizards of the Coast released Dungeon Command: Sting of Lloth and Heart of Cormyr on D&D Game Day. While not only used for playing D&D this new product line is designed to fill the miniatures void left since the last line was cancelled, leaving 4e players everywhere wondering “How am I supposed to play this game with miniatures if I can’t buy any?”
The idea behind this new line of miniatures is to appeal to a wider consumer base by being usable in three different games.
First and foremost Dungeon Command is a table top game in and of itself. Two or more players can sit down at a table with their own war band (the name given to a matched set of miniatures you get in a box) and fight it out. Each box comes with four interconnecting board pieces used to construct part of the game board, twelve miniatures to use for your army, game play cards and a rule book. While it is possible to play a game with only one box we found it much more fun and far less confusing if each person has their own war band.
When playing the game each player takes turns. On your turn you activate each of your creatures causing them to move, attack, and collect treasure. Each player has a commander card that lists their leadership and morale. Leadership is a number that tells you the total number of levels of creatures you can have on the board at one time. If your leader has a leadership of 8 then you can have 8 levels worth of creatures on the board at once. If a creature dies then it no longer counts towards your limit and you can put a new creature down at the end of your turn. Morale is perhaps the most important number in the game. Each time one of your creatures dies you lose morale equal to its level. So if your level 4 Drider dies you lose 4 morale. If your morale gets to 0 then you lose the game.
Combat consists of one creature attacking another either with powers printed on its corresponding creature card or by using an Order card. Order cards are the special abilities for your army. They allow you to dodge attacks, do extra damage when you attack and surprise your opponent with abilities you wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
Those are the basics of Dungeon Command. Each player takes turns controlling his/her army until one of the commanders drops to or below zero morale. We had an enjoyable time playing this game and if you are a big tabletop game fan then the box sets are probably worth the money.
But wait! As I mentioned earlier there are three ways these box sets were meant to be used. The second use for these is in conjunction with the games from the D&D Adventure system. Think Legend of Drizzt, Castle Ravenloft and Wrath of Ashardalon. Each Dungeon Command set comes with creature and ally cards to let you make use of the included miniatures in any of these games as well!
Lastly and perhaps most obviously you can use these miniatures when you play D&D. They have standard size bases so they fit on 1″ grid squares perfectly. Let me also say that these miniatures are very nice. The copper dragon in the Heart of Cormyr set was worth the entire purchase price to me. The paint is well done and the sculpts are very detailed. I also got a big kick out of the Umber Hulk and the Drider in the Sting of Lloth set.
Wizards did a great job creatin a product to appeal to multiple markets. Even if you only want these minis to play D&D I would say they are worth the price. You get all the miniatures you need in a single box to create multiple encounters in a themed adventure and several of the pieces in each box are generic enough to use in multiple settings (I’m quite fond of the spiders in the Drow set). If you enjoy tabletop strategy games, the Adventure System games or using miniatures in your D&D game then I would suggest considering this product. If you are like me and enjoy all three then this is a must buy.
Rating:(5 stars if you will use these for more than one purpose.)