Review of Dungeon Tiles DN3: Shadowghast Manor

I received the Dungeon Tiles DN3: Shadowghast Manor as a promotional mailing from Wizards of the Coast, so I thought it was only fair that I do my part in promoting the product. I can’t write an Amazon review until the official release date, and I don’t have any other venues to write about it, so I decided to dust off this old blog and post it here. Also, I’m about to start a new campaign, so I’ll probably be posting more once again.

Anyway, back to the new Dungeon Tiles set…

Image from Amazon.com with link to the product

I think it may be my favorite small-set of Dungeon Tiles I’ve seen.

The tiles themselves are what you’ve come to expect from the line. The cardboard is very thick and sturdy, the art is good and the same style as the other Dungeon Tiles products (so you can mix-and-match sets without clashing), and the tiles are easy to punch out without damaging. There are six double-sided sheets total, with tiles the following sizes:

  • 8×8: 4
  • 8×4: 2
  • 8×2: 3
  • 4×4: 4
  • 4×2: 5
  • 2×1: 1
  • Other: 4

The “Other” listed above is something I haven’t seen before on the Dungeon Tiles. It’s a tile that’s meant to represent terrain but isn’t part of the “1 inch square” style. They’re about 2 inches long, but only half an inch wide. One side is a wrought-iron fence while the other is a dungeon wall. They appear to be meant to be used as edge borders for pieces that don’t have a wall or possibly laid on top of other tiles to create terrain without covering up the existing tile completely. Either way, it’s a great addition to the set.

This set focuses on a macabre mansion vibe on one side and a tomb/catacomb on the other. On the “dungeon” side of the tiles, there are exactly three (if you don’t count the mini-tiles) that do not have a casket or tomb on them, and even two of those have skulls. The “mansion” side of the tiles has a gothic horror feel, with small details like Celtic-influenced patterns on the stone floors, spiderwebs in the dark corners, and even roses hanging from the walls on a couple.

The only real downside to this set is that it is not a stand-alone product. This was meant as an expansion product for use with the other Dungeon Tiles Master Sets, and it’s obvious in the packaging. The six card tiles have a paper folder around them and are shrink-wrapped, but that’s it. Inside the “folder” are two suggested map layouts you can use, but there’s no storage options. If you already have one of the Dungeon Tiles Master Sets, this won’t bother you because you’ll probably just end up dumping the tiles into the same box anyway. But if this is your first Dungeon Tiles purchase to test out the product, you’ll want to make sure you have a box or heavy-duty gallon zip-top bag to store the tiles so they don’t get lost. Also, I’m not sure Wizards waited so long to release these as they would’ve fit in great as tie-ins for the Heroes of Shadow and Shadowfell sourcebooks released in Spring of 2011, rather than the Feywild-theme books currently being released (Fall/Winter 2011).

Overall, this is my favorite Dungeon Tiles product so far. The tiles have a unique feel to them, but are still generic enough that they can be used with the other Dungeon Tiles products without issue.  I wouldn’t recommend them as your sole Dungeon Tiles first purchase unless you’re running a horror-themed game like Ravenloft, but they’ll make a perfect addition to the other Dungeon Tiles products.

Here are a few pictures I took of the set as I unboxed it. I apologize for the poor quality of the images and for the cat hair on my bed, but I was excited to get these opened and didn’t realize how poorly the pictures turned out until after I’d already popped out all the tiles and added them to my growing collection. The art in these images is copyright Wizards of the Coast and published solely for review purposes with their kind and generous permission.

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Published in: on December 9, 2011 at 1:04 AM  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] (fitting with my gaming style). Long story short, I got the set in the mail today so I made a blog post with crappy cell phone pictures of the tiles reviewing the set, with Steve's kind permission to post the […]

  2. Cannot wait to get these. And I 100% agree with the weird timing of the release of the product. Fortunately for me, however, it has taken me months to finally reach Gloomwrought with my ongoing campaign, and these tiles have arrived at precisely the right time. :p

  3. I have a few sets of these but don’t really use them … I seem to prefer the dry erase map with a black marker. What are your thoughts on making these better that a simple dry erase setup? Also, what are the best ways to transport and find these things when you need them? Do you map out your encounters and put each in a bag or what?
    thanks!

    • Funny, I got the notification of this comment just as I was writing a post (which is up now) addressing just this question. More directly though, I use a combination of Dungeon Tiles and one of those giant doubles-as-a-tablecloth Chessex Battlemats. The biggest advantages that tiles have over the map are ascetics (the tiles have far better art than I can draw) and the ability to make 3D terrain. Take one of the 2×8 tiles and stick a 2″ wooden cube on either side and you’ve got a bridge with a 10 foot drop, all in scale. Makes it easier on you as DM so you don’t have to write little notes on the map saying how high/deep something is or constantly telling your players when they ask.

      And that’s exactly what I do during games. I map out the entire dungeon on the table with the tiles, then take each room and put them in their own little ziptop bag. That way, I’ve got them all sorted and can quickly drop them on the table as we go. I use the Battlemat for those cases when the players get into an encounter I didn’t plan for (“Wait, you’re attacking the Count’s guards?!”), as overflow space for when the players go off the map I’ve made in tiles in outdoors adventures, and just as back-up in case I run out of planned material and start having to wing it.


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