Sunday, December 24, 2023

Finally Got to Look at the D&D Terrain Case

I'm enjoying Christmas at the family farm, which is a long (almost exactly 12 hours) drive from where I live & work. That's too long of a drive for me so I tend to break it down into two 6 hour drive times. On my way up I managed to stop by an Ollies and pick up a copy of the D&D terrain case and the creature case. I had actually seen these for sale a a game store for $65, online for a bit under $20, and I paid $2.75....

I mention the prices not as a humble-brag, which would be applicable since I am a Midwesterner and it's common for us to say what price we paid for something as a casual part of conversation. I mention it know because I wanted to see how much value I felt there was in this product.

I'm going to only cover the Terrain Case because that's what I have in-hand and I'm not putting on pants, going outside, and digging through the truck to find the other case amongst the Christmas presents I have to unload later. Yes, I'm lazy....deal with it.

I'm probably going to be a bit petty about this "review" because if Hasbro (and that one game store) wanted me to pay $65, it better be a damned fine product.

The box has a hefty weight to it and my first issue was trying to actually open the thing. The outer wrap is glued pretty well and I had to flip it a few times to find a weakness I could rip off. While I had a knife I was loathe to use it because I didn't want to scratch the case.

Case is pretty enough, but I really don't care for the thick rope handle. It seems out of place aesthetically and the case isn't so heavy it has to have a handle. Now if I had a small issue opening the outer wrap I'm damned if I can get this actual case opened easily. Seriously? Do I need to look up a effing unboxing video to figure it out? 

Ok, now I feel stupid, but it actually opened easily, just not the way I was trying to open it. The sides of the case have a small V cutout at the top/front and between these cutouts and the stupid rope handle make sit seem obvious that the internal box slides out of an external box. No....the top of the case is magnetic and it flips open, revealing a forest path scene on the inside of the lid and a removable tray set on top of a larger tray/open-sided box. The inside box has two paper-wrapped tile sets and the smaller removable tray has a big red ribbon sticking out of it. Pulling up the ribbon lets you remove the folded map board and an actual folder containing five pages of static clings.

Ok the clings are pretty cool and the maps/tiles are both wet & dry erasable marker capable.  There are really only two map designs: generic grassland & generic stone. That's it.

Honestly I'm not impressed. Don't get me wrong, it's a pretty case, but $65.....no. Now if I paid $65 to Hasbro I'd get a digital DMG, but I don't want/need a digital DMG. Not knocking the game, but if I played it and was looking for terrain that means I'm the DM and I would already have the fricken DMG. Even if I didn't have a digital copy if that had value to me then I'd have already bought the thing. Adding something I don't want/need that costs the company nothing does not magically add $30 of value to a physical product.

Now I like the clings. I will use the clings, BUT.....I really wish they had provided a handful (five maybe) of empty cling backing sheets because once I remove a cling from the sheet, it's not going back on perfectly. Trying to fiddle with this in-game will prove to be an exercise in frustration. Now going ahead and peeling off all of the on-item cling and throwing it away gives me a lot more wiggle-room to replace items. Instead of spending money on producing a rope handle or and art insert I'll not use, give me something useful.

Speaking of useful, only two map designs? Really? Between the tiles and the foldable map that's four surfaces. If they had switched out the designs on the tiles then I could have used them with the foldable. A marsh map, rubble, rocky/hilly, cart path, creek, river, generic water......anything would have greatly increased the value of this terrain product.

IMNSHO the D&D Terrain Case is not worth the MSR of $65. It is too much style over substance and I think it isn't worth $20. Actually it is worth $20, but probably not to one person. I think any GM can get good use out of the clings and as far as the maps or tiles....pick one. I think I'd prefer the folding map, but I could totally see assembling the tiles and pre-drawing my map on it and then number & break it back up. As you play you only have to lay down the tiles as you need them. It really depends on your particular style. If I was running a con game I might like the tiles, already loaded with clings (obviously where appropriate) that lets me save time trying to draw things out during the limited convention game time.

Pro (ok personal experience) tip: If you're running multiple games (I'm specifically thinking multiple games at once as a head GM), but this will work for one game at a time as well, you can go to a fabric store and purchase clear vinyl "fabric" of various thickness/gauge material. It's normally 3-6' wide and sold by running foot. You can cut that up into smaller bits and draw your map out as individual rooms/halls, essentially creating your own clings! When you have multiple tables going at once you can easily lay one piece of vinyl over another and trace out a copy so all the table GMs have the same map layout all prepped in advanced.

Lastly....Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you all get to enjoy the holiday with friends and loved ones.


  1. Had to look up Ollie's. I miss those stores. Had a similar style store growing up, bought most of my D&D stuff there, along with Gi Joe's.

    Merry Christmas

  2. Sadly the closest Ollie's to me didn't have any of the D&D stuff that was on sale there.

    Merry Christmas one and all


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