While it was released earlier in the year in the US, WizKids has finally released the D&D Icons of the Realms Miniatures Boneyard set in the UK. Bringing undead of all shapes and sizes, things with copious amounts of limbs, teeth and raw bones, Boneyard is full of things that just won’t die or have died and yet still want to attack adventurers. Coming in blind booster boxes the main part of the set is a range of 45 miniatures, with a premium figure the Adult Blue Dracolich separately available. We have got hands on a brick of the Boneyard booster boxes and the undead dragon. However, is this the ideal way to build up a collection of undead for your next adventure? Let’s find out!
Boneyard as the name suggests is all about the undead monsters which adventurers are bound to run into as part of their journeys. It includes various vampires, which could be used to flesh out the mobs in Curse of Strahd, to skeletons and zombies, that players might find in any abandoned house or graveyard. Specters, phantoms and even Death himself makes the cut, all being miniatures you could pull out of a blind booster box. These are however tame compared to some of the rarer miniatures of the set.
When it comes to the large miniatures, Boneyard ticks a hell of a lot of awesome boxes. While I wasn’t fortunate enough to pull out any Bone Nagas, a rotting Troll or the blood dripping Sibriex, from the brick we got to open came one of the creepiest miniatures, a Skittering Horror. The incredible miniatures didn’t stop there either. The Elder Black Pudding isn’t just visually a flowing liquid ooze, it has been designed to let a medium or short large creature to sit inside it’s corrosive form. As with the Fangs & Talons set, from which we pulled out a T-Rex, the Boneyard set features a T-Rex. This isn’t just the same miniature though, far from it, as it has had a zombie overhaul.
Boneyard is full of epic miniatures but they are more importantly story makers or rather versatile. The likes of the T-Rex Zombie or the Mindwitness are monsters to build an entire story around or at least leading up to. They can be that focal point that players remember. While this might limit the number of times they can hit the table, the more common miniatures in the Boneyard set can make up the bread and butter of Dungeons & Dragons. Players will always come across zombies and having different races and species of zombies keeps the battlefield varied. The same can be said for the skeletons, of which there is a dwarf skeleton, human archer skeleton and even a gnome skeleton included in the 45. These can be used by the dungeon master just as skeletons, ignoring any stats differences, but they bring visual variety to the tabletop.
A range of phantoms and specters are also included in Boneyard, each offering multiple uses. In one game these could be exactly what they say they are, perhaps a phantom warrior defending a gravesite. In another adventure that same miniature could be the ghost of a soldier who is ready to guide you towards the big bad thing, maybe even that Zombie T-Rex that killed them. There are even ways to use the phantoms as mirror images in puzzles that adventurers might get lost in.
As with the other recent Icons of the Realms miniature sets everything comes pre-painted. This allows them to hit the table and terrorise adventuring parties straight away. The quality of the paint jobs is also incredibly high, only highlighting the awesome sculpts. A couple of the miniatures in the boxes we opened were somewhat bent out of shape, though thankfully nothing was broken. These can be reset with a hot/cold water trick, so it’s not entirely an issue, though it is an extra step between the unboxing and getting to use the minis.
There are three ways to purchase the Icons of the Realms Boneyard booster boxes: individual boxes, as a brick or as a case. Individual booster boxes include 4 miniatures – 1 being large or above in creature size. A booster brick is 8 of these individual boxes and this is what we opened for this review. Above this, a case is 4 of these bricks put together. Why these sets are sold in this style is due to the randomised contents of the individual boxes. While the set contains 45 miniatures, what is included in the boxes is randomised – within limits. Purchasing as a brick, or a case, is supposed to reduce the duplicates found when unboxing thanks to being put together in the factory – though WizKids note this is not a guarantee. Note, that a case is needed to actually have a chance of getting every miniature in the set.
Alongside the release of the Boneyard booster boxes is the Adult Blue Dracolich. This huge dragon comes outside of the blind boosters in it’s own premium set. It’s not blind so you know the exact dragon you’ll be getting your hands on. What exactly is a Dracolich? It was once a powerful dragon that decided to turn to necromancy in order to outlive death. In this form they then go onto rule and control entire cities from the shadows, and these dragons love power.
WizKids has done a phenomenal job with the painting and sculpt for this Blue Dracolich. The tears and gaps in the wings really help sell that this isn’t just any other dragon. The bones on show aren’t just the horns and claws but the entire joints down the wings, giving them that really undead look. The dragon hasn’t entirely lost it’s blue colouring with patches showing through. While I’m not the hugest fan of the invisible plinths, in this case it has been used to give the Dracolich such a striking pose. Plus, with the way that the tail somewhat coils down around the plinth makes up for it. One thing to note is that the transparent blue lightning cannot be removed, though this only makes the miniature look even more dangerous to come across.
Some Icons of the Realms sets are full of epic miniatures but it is hard to see how they will get used. As is often the case the large miniatures, from the booster boxes, and the Dracolich are perfect for being woven into incredible stories. It’s the medium and commons of this set which set it above others though. Not only is there ways to add visual variety into groups of monsters, with the various races that have had the skeleton and zombie treatment, it’s the sheer number of times that adventurers might face these types of monster that make it a useful set to have on hand for any dungeon master.
(Editor’s Note: The Icons of the Realms: Boneyard brick and Adult Blue Dracolich were provided to us by Asmodee for the review. They are currently available from local board game stores! Find your local store here.)