WizKids has just released in the UK two new 4D Settings War Machines, this time around bringing a Battering Ram and a Catapult into their prepainted line. These were released a few months ago in the US but should start appearing in UK stores over the next week or so. The two war machines come fully assembled, and with a variety of themed scatter terrain items. However, will these add to your battlegrounds or just siege your wallet? Let’s find out!
WizKids 4D Settings: War Machines: Battering Ram
As expected the main event of each set is the war machine itself. In the case of the battering ram it is sure to add weight to any siege. Instantly, there can be objectives given to an adventuring party surrounding such a piece. The players may have to defend a fortified town in a Helms Deep style attack or perhaps they are instead tasked with keeping the NPCs pushing the ram alive, in an assault!
While the wheels don’t rotate, the beam with the ram head can slightly swing. This is due to it being hooked onto chains suspending it from the roof of the machine. Breaking up the otherwise very wooden, single texture, design are various metal trimmings and animal pelts – which are draped across the top. As great as the wood grain looks in its pre-painted glory, having these additional colours and textures elevates the look of the battering ram.
Coming with three heads for the battering ram is a great way to allow gamers to customise the battering ram. Upon opening the set I was worried these additional heads for the battering ram would just stay in the box. Thankfully, especially with the dragon skull, these can be used as interesting pieces of scatter terrain in dungeons and not just on a battlefield.
The Battering Ram War Machine comes with a number of scatter terrain items, including war drums and a war horn. The horn could certainly be used in a number of situations, potentially alerting a town to an oncoming sandstorm for player characters to shelter from, if not found on a battlefield. Oddly, while listed separately on the contents the war drum sticks are attached to the top of the drum. This is far from problematic as it’s where players would put them. To stand with the war themed instruments is an included female commander miniature, who is grasping a flowing flag. Whilst this mini doesn’t come with a proper black or clear base, despite the top heaviness from the flag, it stands on its own just fine.
WizKids 4D Settings: War Machines: Catapult
If it’s not the trebuchet, from the last wave of 4D Settings War Machines, that people first think about as a siege unit then it’s the Catapult! It adds to the battlefield making a scene look and feel more complete, though the uses are perhaps much more black and white (destroy or use to destroy) than the battering ram. Nevertheless, players could be tasked with fighting their way to an enemy catapult before it can be used or even working out a way to get the heavy pile of stones to the catapult.
The catapult and the oil pots have moving parts. The oil pots can spin vertically, with the catapult arm free to move. The catapult arm isn’t stiff so it isn’t able to hold a position, with it falling back down. This does mean though that it is just about possible to launch one of the single stones a good foot or so. Regardless of how useful that actually is, it adds a child-like element of fun when unboxing and realising that’s a possibility.
As a set the Catapult and scatter terrain work well together, with the pile of stones and single stones visually showing the torso sized shots that catapult will be launching, with the oil pots and stands there to set the shots alight. The oil pots could easily be found on top of the battlements of a castle or as generic dungeon items, able to add flair to many locations. This isn’t the case for the almost perfectly round stone shots, as they are clearly not just any old rubble pile. As with the battering ram set, the catapult set comes with an operator. Included is a human engineer, again with no base. Players may vaguely remember this engineer though, from the Ballista set. The sculpt is identical but the mini is painted differently, so there is at least some variance.
An almost criminal error is that a cheval de frise is featured on the side and the back of the box, yet there is not one included in the Catapult set. It’s not listed in the components but being imaged on the back of the box seems like a huge oversight from WizKids, and this isn’t the first time in recent releases this issue has occurred. Fortunately, the clear plastic front panel shows potential purchasers exactly what’s in the set. Effectively replacing it from the image, an additional single stone and a second oil pot with frame make the cut. With a number of recent sets including cheval de frises this is actually a welcome change.
Both of these war machines will help elevate a battle that warrants siege units to the next level. Putting aside the slight gimmick of the catapult arm moving and the ram swinging, they are large pre-painted miniatures that will catch players’ eyes. Both will excel on a battlefield, though they might be hard to use repeatedly in a campaign. The scatter terrain that comes with both sets though can allow at least some of the sets to consistently be useful to Dungeon Masters – even if it is “just” for adding a few extra visually interesting items along the walls of their next dungeons.
(Editor’s Note: The WizKids 4D Settings War Machines Battering Ram and Catapult were provided to us by Asmodee for the review. They are currently available from local board game stores! Find your local store here.)