WizKids has recently released two new sets and expansions for their WarLock Tiles range, considered wave II of their pre-painted 3D terrain products. These sets include full height 2” walls, whereas wave 1 featured half height walls. There are two styles Dungeon Tiles and Town & Village, both having a “full” set and an expansion set released. The difference between full and expansion boxes is the inclusion of the floor tiles in the full sets. To distinguish the products the expansion sets have green highlights, while the full sets use purple. To check out the release of the wave II WarLock products we have dived in and got hands on with the full sets, and the new WarLock EZ Clips. However, is there a clear cut winner between wave I and II? Let’s find out!
In the first wave the Dungeon Tiles set included more floor tiles than in the Towns & Village set. This disparity is gone as both of the wave II WarLock Tiles full sets come with twenty 2” x 2” tiles, two 4” x 4” tiles and two 2” x 8” tiles. This does work out as slightly less, 6 fewer 2” x 2” tiles to be exact, than the Dungeon Tiles I set – though all of the walls are double the height and therefore double the plastic. As a direct set comparison the Town & Village II set has 4 fewer 2” x 2” tiles compared to the original wave I set. Yet, the wave II set includes the larger 2” x 8” and 4” x 4” tiles which weren’t present in wave I – so overall gamers are getting more floor space.
Having tiles that aren’t of the standard 2” x 2” size have some negatives but they are more than balanced out. With the large pieces you are stuck with a room of at least that size, as the interior walls cannot sit on top of the tiles – as they are designed to sit between the tiles. The interior walls can still fit alongside these large tiles though, so with some planning it is rarely a problem. The instant benefit is that the longer 2” x 8” tiles can be easily set up as corridors, set up off to the side ready for the adventuring party to open the door.
The 4” x 4” tiles can be used to quickly build out a larger room. With either wall style there are rooms that will need this size without interior walls zigzagging across it, with the bar of a tavern or an important encounter filled room in a dungeon easily needing that sort of space! The occasional times you have to work around these predetermined floor shapes is therefore outweighed by the amount of extra floor space they provide and the way they allow rooms to be speedily created.
In the sets of either wall style, Dungeon or Town & Village, the double sided tiles are once again included. These are the real selling point of the WarLock Tiles brand, on top of the fact that it all comes pre-painted. Gamers get this variety in floor terrain straight out of the box, regardless of which full set they purchase. Note that the expansion sets have no floor tiles at all. When it comes to the walls there is a difference, other than in design, between the two wave 2 sets. The Dungeon Tile II set comes with two additional corner pieces (1 inside corner and 1 exterior corner) and more full height straight wall pieces. This difference is due to the Town & Village II set including 2 wall pieces with windows, offsetting the numerical difference. The Dungeon Tiles II set also comes with an additional number of exterior doors and interior walls.
Straight away the full height walls will be a little easier to use with other 3D terrain products, as the likes of Dwarven Forge or Dragonlock Dungeons are of a similar “full” height. With full height walls the opportunity to add flair to the rooms with wall hangings becomes a possibility, that wasn’t there with half height walls. Rooms can also be stacked much easier with the full height walls, though I’d advise using the more rigid WarLock clips not EZ clips if attempting this. This all comes at the expense of clear vision of rooms from across the table though.
When using the 2” x 8” tiles to make a corridor for example, the full height walls in a way make it feel narrower – as it is harder to see down from all angels. This is where the immersion that the full height walls bring can come crumbling down, as players have to shift about to see what’s going on. Products such as Dwarven Forge, which features full height walls, get around this by having an unusable half space where the walls attach to the tile. Whilst somewhat annoying having that half space it means that miniatures and scatter terrain are often away from the walls, not straight up against them – thus being easier to see from all angels.
Of the two styles the plaster walls design of the Town & Village II set is the one with more variety, thanks to having some windows, as well as 4 straight walls and 4 cracked straight walls. Still, this does mean less walls with accessory ports are included. Visual variety is needed more in the stone as there isn’t a cracked variety, nor is there the window style of wall, to break up any monotony. It was something that was less obvious with the half height walls but there really isn’t much variety in the dungeon style. An equivalent of the windows from the plaster set might not work. Regardless, WizKids could have easily had some walls with a mossy side or something else to break it up.
This reveals an issue more for those that are only going to get one set, rather than a few of each or either. The wall hangings that provide some of that variety only plug into the ports on the flat walls and not the corner wall pieces. This means to have a flag or torch on a corner section the normal walls must be used. While fine most of the time, when trying to maximise the size of a build you must use the corner walls for corners, to save the normal walls for the rest of the build.
WizKids could also have included more variety in the wall hangings, with two types in each set. In the Dungeon Tiles II set 4 torches and 4 banners are included, with 4 lanterns and 4 mounted swords and shields included in the Town & Village II set. Having 4 of each is useful for the sake of building out believable locations. Still, having two types of wall hangings in a set only makes you want more. With these sets not coming cheap it isn’t wrong to expect a little more from them. Including a unique item in each, such as a boar’s head for a townhouse or a gargoyle for a dungeon setting, would have allowed for a wider diversity of locations to be brought to life.
An added advantage of the wall hangings is that they can be freely swapped between the two sets, if you own both. There is also the opportunity for them to be used in a fun gameplay way, needing to be added to correct wall slots or rotated. While rotation perhaps only makes sense for the mounted sword and shield, this can be incorporated into a puzzle for the players to guess the correct combination. Something like this that incorporates the terrain would make a session using them even more memorable.
Like the upcoming Angles and Curves sets, which will be wave III of WarLock Tiles, the wave II sets include WarLock EZ Clips – despite not entirely saying this on the box. The front of the box has a sticker on it referring to these new EZ clips, while the reverse of the box lists just WarLock Tile Clips in the set contents. These EZ clips are far softer and this is both a positive and a negative. Instantly, with the extra bendy nature, putting together and taking apart a build is quicker – and they are much more forgiving on your hands and fingers. For this useability they are my preferred clip type out of the two available.
Despite this, the softer material also results in builds that aren’t as stable. Especially noticeable when attempting to move or lift a constructed room you have to be more careful and actually support the walls and tiles – which wasn’t really necessary with the solid normal clips. Constructed rooms don’t fall apart but they will sag when moved through the air. Note that these new sets aren’t the only way to get hold of these EZ clips. WizKids has also released these EZ clips separately as a product, which includes 100 clips – coming in a small plastic baggie. For those who found their hands hurting a lot after using the original clips, it is easy to recommend trying these EZ clips.
Some of the same issues as the half height walls still exist, in particular there are no 1 inch tiles. While 1 inch tiles and walls are coming in the future they are however only currently confirmed to be in the half height variety. It seems very much that WizKids are using these sets to test the water for more full height products, without committing to a full range of full height walls. It isn’t something to put you off them as an individual product. Yet, if you are looking to eventually expand a collection of tiles, with no more full height WarLock Tiles currently announced it is at least something to think about before purchasing.
The choice between half and full height walls certainly seems to split the crowd. There isn’t a definitive better product, with both having differing advantages and all of them coming pre-painted. Trading away the ease of view of the half height walls, the full height walls allow locations to be that bit more immersive. The wall hangings, while more would have been nice, do a great job of adding that little touch of flair to locations – before any sort of dungeon dressings or scatter terrain is added. Both of the full sets include the double sided floor tiles and can bring incredible locations to life, with there being only a slight tile count difference between the sets. Overall, the full height walls are, like the half height walls, a stunning way to upgrade your D&D or Pathfinder experience – regardless of which you choose to go for you’ll swiftly be able to build out locations for the next game night.
(Editor’s Note: WarLock Tiles Dungeon Tiles II, Town & Village II and EZ Clips were provided to us by Asmodee for the review. The sets are currently available from local board game stores! Find your local store here, it may be doing local delivery.)