Feb 20, 2014

Kre-o Dungeons and Dragons Figure Review #1

This will be the first of several reviews of the new Dungeons and Dragons Kre-o sets. In the this review, I'll look at a few of the new figures available in the "Army Builder Pack".

I discussed my initial thoughts in a previous post based solely on the limited product information and sample images provided. In these actual product follow-ups, I'll touch on some of my assumptions and which have changed, now that I have better information.

For my first review, I'm going to focus on the Army Builder Packs. The packs retail for $2.99, which is the same price as the Lego Collectible Minifigure sets. The bags are "blind" (meaning you don't know what is included in each bag), but that's not really the case. On the back of each bag, is a stamped number, which is partially unique for each figure, so a quick Internet search will link you to several pages (or YouTube videos) showing you how to find the number and which number corresponds to which figure.

Originally the product information said that there would be 36 different figures to collect, which I said in my previous post was too much. It now seems that they are breaking up the 36 figures into 3 waves of 12 figures each, which I think is wonderful. Twelve makes collecting an entire wave much easier to do and less costly.

For the first release, there are 5 humans (including 1 mage), 5 orcs (one of which has a wolf companion), 1 tiefling, and 1 stone statue. The humans are all considered part of the "good" faction, while the orcs, tiefling, and statue are all part of the "evil" faction.

Each bag contains a few common elements, including a standard 2 (studs) x 4 (studs) brick with the Kre-o logo printed on one side. This brick is common in their other figure packs (G.I. Joe, Star Trek, and Cityville), but is mostly useless here, since each pack also includes a round stand for the figures to be positioned on.

These stands are green in color, and as I previously hoped, are about 1in in diameter, making them great for using on traditional D&D battle mats. The only thing I hope is that future releases have stands in other colors, like grey or black.

Each pack also includes a card that is somehow related to the Kre-o game, but there's no explanation in the builder packs as to what the numbers on the cards are used for. Lastly, the numbers attached to icons that seem to represent attack (sword), defense (shield), movement (boot), and magic (open book) in no way related to any version of the D&D rules. Since the builder packs are supposed to augment the other sets, not having an explanation of the card is okay, as opposed to adding an explanation card with each pack, most, if not all of which I would end up throwing away. A better solution might be to post online information about the game and the usefulness of the cards, that way I can get the details without the extra cost involved in printing.

Lastly, each pack includes two other things. One is a checklist/instruction set that shows how to assemble all the different figures and a $3 off coupon for any Kre-o set costing $15 or more. The checklist is nice to keep track of what you have, but after the first one, all the others went right in the recycle bin. The coupon, on the other hand, is very worthwhile. The $3 off basically covers the cost of the figure and seems to be good on any Kre-o set, not just the D&D line.

Finally, now we get to look at some of the actual figures. For this first post, let's look at two figures, the Tiefling, and the Wizard.

The tiefling is an interesting choice to appear in the first wave of D&D figures, considering the only other figures features are mostly humans and orcs. I would have expected elves (light or dark) to make an appearance before the half-demon.

Parts of the figure are really well done, including the printing on the chest piece, the pauldrons that attach to the shoulders, and the tail piece. Unfortunately, that's not enough to overcome the things I don't like about the figure. First off, the horns don't look like horns. They look more like the mitre hat the Pope wears. If the horns were rounded, or had ridges, it would be more believable for me. Or if they looked like they were coming out of the sides of the head, instead of off the eyebrow ridge, I would be more favorable toward this figure.

Lastly, the figure is holding something, two somethings actually, and I can't figure out what they are. Are they torches in each hand? If so, why. Most of the other figures have weapons, or other easily identifiable accessories. Are they supposed to be swords, with the red part being enchanted blades? If so, then the bottom parts look nothing like a handle and hilt. In the end, I'm just confused and would probably use some actual Lego pieces that look more like handles.

The other figure that I want to look at is the Wizard. First off, I don't like the name Wizard, since the latest version of the D&D rules calls that type of class a Mage. Strike one for not even giving the new rules a glance. That said, this is a really nice looking figure, with great printing on the chest and legs, a cape that is bigger than the standard Lego capes, and a beard piece that is actually better than the one Lego makes.

There are a few things that could be better, like the scroll. It's currently a tile with lines on it to represent the text, but how much harder would it have been to have a few symbols, or gibberish words to make it look more real? Compare this Lego scroll with what the wizard is carrying and let me know which looks better. Or better yet, how about a custom piece like this one instead?

Next time I'll look at 4 to 6 more figures from the Army Builder Packs.