Reviews September 16, 2015
D&D Icons of the Realms: Rage of Demons
Reviewed By: Kenneth Seward Jr.
Appropriate Ages: 14+
Cost: $15.99 (per pack)
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a chance to check in on the Dungeons & Dragons scene. Taking just a peak into some recent happenings, the D&D community seems to be thriving more than ever! And while it’s still very much a niche group – it can be difficult to find friends willing to play this time consuming board game over say, Halo – one would be hard pressed to argue against its relevance in gaming today…
Being a fan of everything associated with D&D, I was excited to learn we would be getting some of WizKids Icons of the Realms miniatures for review. This latest batch, coming from the Rage of Demons storyline, features 49 different heroes and monsters (with an extra six rare and ultra-rare miniatures, bringing the actual total to 55)*. Each pack contains one large figure and three medium or small figures, all of which can be used in a friendly game of D&D. Again, I haven’t played in years. So this, for the most part, is new territory for me. If you’ve recently opened your one hundredth pack, feel free to roll your eyes before reading on.
“In the Rage of Demons storyline, Demon Lords are invading the Underdark, a deadly, subterranean realm inhabited by the most dangerous monsters of D&D lore. The demon lords have been summoned from the Abyss and have been wreaking havoc across the Underdark, causing madness and destruction on the drow, duergar and deep gnomes who already struggle to survive. Will you help thwart the rise of the demon lords before their madness bubbles to the surface of Faerun?”
For this review, we were sent eight booster packs to check out. Because of the random nature of said packs, multiple boxes where needed to really get a look at what Rage of Demons had in store. Basically, I was super excited upon opening each box. After gently folding back the tape of the first pack and lifting the lid, I was greeted by one of the most familiar D&D monsters of all time. Namely the Beholder – a giant floating flesh ball with a large mouth, one central eye, and snake-like eyestalks. He was encased in plastic with a stand and base attachment. Removing him from the box, I noticed that he was see-through. To my surprise, he happened to be the Ultra rare Shadow variant of the Beholder. It’s safe to say that I no longer cared if I damaged one of the boxes. No, from that point on, they were ripped open posthaste!
Behind each large miniature were the three smaller ones, surrounded in bubble wrap. The height scale ranged from about 9mm to maybe 1.7mm. Of course, the larger ones were the more known characters. I’m talking Roper, Beholder, Nightmare, and Drider. They all were pre-painted with care given to the finer details. I especially liked the Water Myrmidon’s translucent bottom half and the fact that the Carrion Crawler was made to look filthy; he is reminiscent of a giant worm after all. Most of the miniatures were pretty sturdy too, with the exception being a smaller figure’s staff or sword. The ones that needed to be planted to their base fitted snugly onto their stands. I’m pretty sure they’d survive a fall from a decent height, which means one doesn’t have to take great care when transporting them to a friend’s house.
On the base of each miniature was its name and number, providing an easy way to track which ones you’d need to collect in order to have the full set. That said, smaller letters are used on the little guys (obviously because of smaller bases). That combined with the dark font on the black base, make them a little tougher to identify. One thing I would have liked would have been something to signal an uncommon or rare figure. Granted, if you’ve bought these to play D&D then you’d most likely have the reference material to know who is who. Yes, I know that sort of thing hasn’t been done before. It still would have been nice to include that information in the packs though.
All and all, I really dig these miniatures - so much so that I’d recommend getting them just for collection sake. They all are artistically designed, aren’t too flimsy, and they span are range of characters. Interestingly enough, after opening multiple packs, there was only one hero, the rest where monsters. At the same time, I only got two doubles.
It would seem that WizKids is doing a good job of randomizing the contents, though I can’t really be certain. What I am certain of is that this level of craftsmanship wouldn’t be needed for an unpopular game. Of course, getting into D&D isn’t as easy as collecting these awesome miniatures!
*The White Dracolich is also a part of this line. That said, he is a case intensive promotional figure. Not one that would be found in a Rage of the Demons booster pack.