Recently we reviewed one of the base WarLock Tile sets, Town & Village, along with a range of additional sets including Stairs & Ladders and Expansion Box 1. Today we are looking at some more content in the WarLock Tiles line, the Doors & Archways set. Featuring 14 items, the set includes a couple trapdoors, a portcullis, a secret door and more. Every single door opens, so can be placed in an open, ajar or closed state – with a couple doors being removable to allow the frame to be used as an archway. However, does this live up to the high quality of the WarLock Tiles? Let’s find out!
Straight away gamers will notice that every door in the set is mounted on a clear plastic base. The bases enable players to use the doors as internal or external doorways. While less of an issue with the Town & Village set, as it includes more internal doors than Dungeon Tiles 1, having more doors that can be placed internally helps craft more intricate building designs. Plus, the ability to open interior doors is now possible. Rather than having to remove an interior door to show it is open, the door can be popped open and the room still feels complete – thanks to still being fully walled. By utilizing clear plastic it allows the terrain below to still be seen, similar to the clear bases of some of the newer medium, or above, miniatures from WizKids.
Having the doors use the same internal and external style system that the WarLock Tiles utilizes would have allowed the content to better integrate with the WarLock tiles. By not using the WarLock systems the doors feel like they are additions on top, rather than part of the other sets. Whilst this is the case it does mean that they will work just as well with terrain of any brand, at least those that use the same sizings such as Dwarven Forge or even hand drawn maps.
While half of the content in the Doors & Archways set is an inch across, there is currently no other WarLock Tile content that is only of 1 space width. Therefore, players will have to be creative to fit the 1 space across doors into their design. It is more fiddly when it comes to internal doors but thankfully it is far from impossible. If the set had come with a couple of 1 inch walls this issue would have been negated – as it stands players will have to wait until 2021 when a 1 inch set will be released. Currently, to work around this players will have to have two 1 inch doors in the same wall, though these could be at opposite ends. Another option is to fudge it a bit with crates and barrels.
As with some of the other additional non-base sets, Doors & Archways adds variety to the content available. Expanding the pool of potential locations, sewers, city entrance points and cellars are now more visually believable – without a wooden door being the entrance. For example, no longer will a cell door have to look the same as the front door. There are a few stand out pieces. When it comes to opportunities for a DM (dungeon master) the secret stone wall door is the one that will get imaginations running. The various smaller doors may get more usage but the iron portcullis, which can be raised to whatever height you want, will give a scene a bit of a wow factor – regardless of if using WarLock Tiles, other 3D terrain sets or just paper maps.
Not quite being a door, nor an archway, are the trapdoors. On top of actually opening, these have been impressively balanced so that it is the base where the weight is. This means that the trapdoor can be fully open but the piece won’t over balance and lift up off the floor. With the hinges on one side the two trapdoor pieces are slightly over an inch wide, though this is perhaps by a millimeter or two. It’ll be exceedingly rare for this to be an issue. It’s more something to be aware of when orientating a trapdoor if adjacent to a wall.
A few of the doors can become archways, by removing the doors from the frames. Unfortunately, there is no indication on the box, nor from the included pamphlet, to highlight which doors this works with. Gamers are therefore left to feel it out for themselves. For a product that isn’t cheap the concept of giving the doors a tug to check if they are the ones that create archways is a bit of an unnerving one. It would seem that it is only the iron double door and the two wooden single doors that do this, almost falling off the hinges a bit when opened, though some information would be an improvement.
The doors and portcullis can be rather stiff. This allows them to keep their open angle or not drop down randomly, though means you will often need to pick them up off the map to open them before returning them to the table. Whereas the double doors in the Town & Village set perfectly close, those in the Doors & Archway set don’t. Being around a millimeter too close together the doors still close. However, they do not close perfectly flat, instead being minutely back in on themselves. It is still very obvious between being opened and closed, and when playing it isn’t too noticeable. Still, it is an oddity – though it could be different from one set to the next.
Overall, the Doors & Archways set is a solid, although not perfect, addition to the WarLock range. With the set supposedly being part of the clip based WarLock system, which allows for external and internal walls and doors to be clipped together, it is surprising that these doors don’t use this system to properly integrate. Nevertheless, this allows the set to appeal to a wider audience, as you don’t need to own any WarLock content to utilize these stunning and functioning doors. At the end of the day all of the WarLock content is there to be a visual aid. Regardless of if the clear plastic detracts from the visual look, they are still able to aid players and the DM to know what rooms have been explored and what is yet to be.
For owners of the WarLock Tiles, the big compromise with the set is not the clear plastic bases on the doors. Instead, it is the way players will have to work around the lack of 1 inch wall sections. They are planned for next year but including only a couple of 1 inch walls would have made utilising the doors in this set much easier. Players will be able to get more use out of this set compared to the likes of the Stairs & Ladders set. It is about giving players variety to pick from, helping to make every location more believable whether it is a dungeon with a secret room or the local jail. If you are wanting that extra variety then this set offers a great range to play with.
(Editor’s Note: The WarLock Tiles Doors & Archways set was provided to us by Asmodee for the review. It is currently available from local board game stores, some of which are reopening! Find your local store here.)