4D Settings War Machines Trebuchet and Ballista Review

WizKids has just released two brand new products in their 4D settings range, the first War Machines – a Trebuchet and a Ballista. Until now the 4D settings range only included scatter terrain for locations, such as castle barracks and encampments. Now, gamers will be able to set up a scene with a siege on these locations, or perhaps defend against such a siege! Coming with engineers and some scatter terrain items, the two war machines are pre-painted and ready to use straight out of the box. However, are these miniatures that should be added to your collection? Let’s find out!

So what are in the boxes? The ballista comes with two wooden mantlets, a pile of ballista bolts, two cheval de frises and a human engineer. The mantlets look perfect adjacent to the ballista on a battleground, for characters to shelter behind. At the same time, they could easily be reused as cover in dungeon settings or part of a small encampments defences. Size wise the pile of ballista bolts look ready to pierce a dragon’s scales, and they could easily be found ready to load into the ballista or on a shelf in an armoury store cupboard.

The trebuchet set forgoes most cover options as accessories, including two piles of stones, two cheval de frises, a single stone shot and a half-orc engineer. Being nicely rounded, to be loaded into the trebuchet, the cannonball shaped stones look a little too much like perfect spheres to pass for just rubble in a dungeon. Still, they could easily be seen on a pirate ship. The trebuchet is certainly larger than the ballista, so including less alongside it does make sense.

Both sets include two cheval de frises. Taken individually, these are great contextual scatter terrain items. Having both sets include two is slightly overkill for gamers who are looking to pick up both sets, especially if gamers want multiple ballistas for example. While there aren’t many different styles of cheval de frises there are ones with slightly different appearances, which would have been nice to add variety to gamer’s tables. Alas, all four are identical.

One of the first things many will try is to see if the Trebuchet and Ballista are functional. While they are not, the ballista can rotate on its base and aim at different heights. Not being functional does allow the war machines to be that bit sturdier, so they will last longer. It is a slight shame that the wheels on the trebuchet don’t rotate, though it is far from immersion breaking. It is unlikely adventurers besieging a castle would notice this, even if they stopped to push the trebuchet into position.

Both of the war machines and all of their accessories come pre-painted to a high standard. At a glance players can see the wooden textures of the machines, the tense ropes of the trebuchet and the iron tip of the ballista bolts. The included human and half-orc engineer miniatures don’t quite reach the peak of the paint jobs seen in the latest Icons of the Realms collections from WizKids. They are still decent and ready to instantly grace the table. Note though, the sets do not include any bases for the engineers.

war machines

The sets in the WizKids 4D settings range are always high quality and the war machines are no different. Out of the two, the ballista can probably fit into more locations; seen in situations such as a town defending against a dragon, rather than just a siege. Though there is something special about a battlefield featuring a full on trebuchet. Putting aside the small issue of both sets including two cheval de frises, the scatter terrain included with the war machines are great contextual items, which help to bring them to life when put into play: a ballista with no bolts to reload wouldn’t look right. Not every campaign, nor every siege, will call for siege equipment. Therefore, it might be a long time between scenarios which see the war machines get to the table. However, when they do hit the table they are both going to visually boost the battleground.

(Editor’s Note: The WizKids 4D Settings War Machines Trebuchet and Ballista were provided to us by Asmodee for the review. The accessories are currently available from local board game stores! Find your local store here.)