As one of the lucky ones to get a sample spru of the product, which included a small portion of a hallway/walls and the wolf animal companion, Geralt, I feel very confident that this is a Kickstarter more Dungeon Masters should be backing! Included below is my general review of the project, as well as my own findings when working with the product I received.
Kickstarter Project: Dungeons and Lasers: Plastic Tabletop Scenery
Creator: Archon Studio
End Date: August 27, 2019 (08/27/2019)
Kicktraq Progress: At time of posting, Kicktraq is estimating a whopping $722,018 (or %1805 of the original goal).
Funding Needed: None; this project is already way over-funded, and it’s very clear it’s going to stay that way, unlocking many more stretch goals to come!
Product: 3D tabletop role playing game terrain (walls, floors, doors, stairs, etc.), decorative bits, and animal companion minis.
Quality: Having received a sample of the product itself, I can assure you that the product quality is very high! The plastic is hard, durable, and chunky! It’s got a lovely heft to it, and I don’t feel like I’m going to break it putting it together or moving it about on the tabletop with some enthusiasm. Easy enough to put together, versatile, reusable, and reconfigurable!
Tagline: “One tabletop terrain to play all the games.”
Estimated Delivery: June of 2020, and Archon Studio has had a very good track record of meeting their fulfillment goals on their other projects in the past.
Pledge Levels: A starting pledge of $1 (“The Goblin” level) gets you access to updates, emails, as well as the pledge manager once it’s live (so if you’re on the fence or just can’t afford it just this second, you can add to your pledge later in the manager). Then there’s “The Druid Was Right” pledge level, designed with the animal companions in mind, as well as any additional companion models unlocked (but none of the additional stretch goals like bits, stairs, etc.) for just $39. The “Dungeon Master” pledge is when the stretch goals start really adding up, and includes 1 core room set of your choice, as well as 3 add-on rooms of your choice. Next is “The Quest for Eternity” level for $199, which includes 2 core sets of your choice and 7 additional rooms of choice. And finally, “The Story Ends” for $299, the ultimate pledge level for terrain in this project, you get 3 core sets of your choice and 11 whole add-on rooms. Any level priced $99 or more includes all unlocked stretch goals for FREE.
Stretch Goals: More unlocking with each hour! The price point of this project gets sweeter with each stretch goal unlocked, and you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck. I feel safe in assuming that all of the companion minis (along with some secret, special bits and more surprise companions to be revealed) will be included at the base $99 “Dungeon Master” pledge.
Cost Effectiveness: I would rate this project as incredibly cost effective, especially at the base $99 price point! At this point, there are so many unlocked stretch goals that you get far more than your money’s worth, and the team seems eager to release even more special companions and deco bits. This KS will also likely be the lowest price for this product, and the shipping isn’t too bad for most countries (with the team sincerely working on finding ways to make customs and tariffs a bit easier on the customer).
Usefulness/Purpose: Anyone who incorporates standard miniatures (remember, this is 28/32mm compatible) could find this product to be very helpful in providing a visual dungeon/space for their minis and adventurers to move about it. I’m actually going to try my hand at using minis on the tabletop (instead of just painting them) as a result of this product.
Creator Involvement: I can personally attest to the creators and collaborators frequently and quickly addressing questions and concerns, and even taking suggestions seriously on the comments page. They are friendly, fast, and very informed about their product, which they are eager to share; they’ve given away hundreds of small sample sprus like the one I review below, as well as small boxes of terrain for reviewing purposes.
Regular/Relevant Updates: Already on their third update (that’s one per day so far!) They use these updates to inform backers what they’ve unlocked for stretch goals, answer frequent questions to a broader audience, as well as give updates on the shipping options they’re working out currently.
Backer Enthusiasm: Backers seem very enthusiastic, especially with the quality and durability of the plastic. The creator involvement and enthusiasm is also high and very positive, which has only made backer enthusiasm even better. If you have a question, you can pop it in the comments on the project page, or message the creator. I can almost guarantee they will get back to you post haste!
Add-ons: Backers can order the room sets, theme sets, companions, extra bits, additional stairs, and more as add-ons. Many of the add-ons are also included with the pledge levels, for example, the “Dungeon Master” pledge includes three of the add-on rooms of your choice (plus your choice of core set, and all the stretch goals)!
Where Can I Buy Once the KS is Over?: As with all of their previous successful projects, Archon Studio has an online store where you can buy a “late pledge” or different add-ons you may have missed when the project was live. We can safely assume that this project will also move to the online store! Keep in mind, you can also back for $1 on the project, and up your pledge during the pledge manager to get all the extra bits – this does not upset the creators, in fact they seem to be encouraging it!
Should I Back It?: Yes! Also, stretch goals are unlocking more and more by the day at the base pledge levels. And, if you missed the first 48 hour mark for the free mini, well, you can still add “Bulbo the Eyeball” in the add-on portion of the pledge manager when all is finished. I personally don’t get to use minis and terrain often in the TTRPG setting, but after backing this, I will go out of my way to do so, it’s just so clean and creative.
Other Reviews: Terrain modeling video by Black Magic Craft, Spiky Bit’s video shows off how well it plays with similarly sized minis (Warhammer, i.e.), and Mini Terrain Domain also has a video review to show off how the pieces connect and how chunky they are.
My Personal Product Review: I was quite impressed by the chunkiness, the sheer durability of these pieces. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a sample spru, so I’ve taken some pictures and gone through the basic setup for a small hallway as well as the “Geralt the Wolf” companion. Featured below, you can see the components on the spru, with a mixture of the terrain themes (dungeon, alien, industrial/tech, hall of the gods, etc.), the pieces for Geralt, and one doorway.
Cutting the bits out of the spru was a simple task, any basic cutters can easily do the job. While the plastic used with the molds is a bit harder than some (Warhammer for example, might have a higher level of detail, but feels much more brittle in comparison), it comes away easily enough with a sharp tool, and any extra bits were usually filed away with relative ease. The terrain walls and floors are chunky and I love it! Super durable and with a great heft to them. You can see how thick the doorway is below, pictured next to some 12mm D6s.
These terrain pieces are designed to be modular, so I experimented a bit with various ways of putting them together. It seems there is a problem putting two walls on an inside corner some of the time, but the comments from the creators indicate that they are working on a solution. I only had enough pieces to make a small hallway or branching halls, but it was great fun and it now sits on my desk as inspiration. I also want to emphasize the durability of this product, the walls especially! My daughter has dropped Geralt so many times now, I’ve even rolled over him with my desk chair on accident and he’s still good!
I will say that the level of detail, while good, is not as high as some other miniatures might be, but, again, it is surprisingly durable! The flyer says “no glue required” and while the companion stays together well enough, I prefer glue for those particular minis, otherwise his sword (and snout) kept falling off and nearly getting lost to the floor. My biggest complaint with the companion model I received is that the pieces are not as flush as they could be, I ended up using some glue and a file to make them as smooth as possible, but the cracks are not hidden, but it is still a fun model. Also, anyone looking to re-base their companion minis should be aware that the paws/feet seem to be a part of the base itself, and it would take some careful cutting and gluing to get them off and onto a different base (or some experience with Green Stuff or similar putties). And do be careful not to cut off the pegs for slotting the legs into place when removing the bits from the spru, as always.
The terrain itself was very easy to cut away and file smooth. And connection the terrain is very simple and effective, using small tabs that lock into place with a firm press of the fingers. They are easy to move and reuse, to reassemble the dungeon and bits any which way you please! The terrain is definitely not something I would glue together, as it holds up rather sturdily on its own and is meant to be modular! I do worry about losing the tiny tabs needed to piece everything together, but that’s what plastic bags are for, right?
This terrain is designed to be stackable, with some care! While I didn’t have quite enough terrain pieces to get a good dungeon map going, I was able to stack a small portion of it, which is pictured below. I expressed concerns to the creators as to the stability of the upper levels, and they responded quite quickly! Apparently, in beta testing and modeling, they had attempted to use tabs and even pins to hold the different levels in place, but this feature wasn’t received well by the testers, or even cause damage to the terrain pieces themselves. It seems that, so long as nobody is lunging at the pieces and they are moved with some slight care, the stackable levels hold up fairly well, especially with stairs in place for support. They also wanted the lower levels to be more easily accessible, and the floors and walls interlock so firmly that moving the levels and replacing them should be a simple matter.
Overall, I’d call this a worthwhile, and very attractive gaming tool! And if the companions aren’t your thing, consider gifting them to any younger potential gamers you want to get into painting, wargaming, or TTRPGs! I love the durability and the cost point of these items, and the creators seem determined to get the best product to gamers as they can, and have been successfully doing so for awhile now! I can’t recommend this product enough, and after I get it in my hands I will have to start playing games with minis!
Happy Backing and Gaming,
I claim no ownership or affiliation with Kickstarter, Kicktraq, or projects and creators cited in this review. Any related information or images is the sole property of said company, person, or artist. I am not being paid or rewarded for this post.