A Look at Tyranny of Goblins

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Tyranny of Goblins is the third set of miniatures for the Dungeon Command game by Wizards of the Coast, a skirmish level game that plays in about 30-40 minutes.

It is a stand-alone set, and it is possible to play a game using only the miniatures in one set. A much better game is played with each player possessing their own set, and the best experience comes from mixing and matching the components of several sets to build your own warband.

A set of Tyranny of Goblins contains the following:
* 12 miniatures
* 12 matching creature cards
* 36 order cards
* 2 leader cards
* 2 large tiles
* 2 small tiles
* several tokens
* 12 monster cards for the D&D Adventure System game

As one might expect, the theme of the expansion is goblins, and the set provides nine goblinoids to play with: goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears. Two large figures are also included, the Feral Troll and the Horned Devil, which are two of the better miniatures in the set, and a wolf rounds off the selection

The sculpts of the miniatures are quite nice, and they are made out of tough plastic (in complete contrast to the Pathfinder miniatures) which makes them extremely easy to transport without needing special cases to protect them. However, there is one big problem with the miniatures: the paint jobs on the goblinoids are very muddy and unattractive. Seen up close, you can make out some details and differentiation between the colours, but from any distance (like if you’re using the miniatures in a game), they’re just blah.

This is a great pity, because the actual game materials in Tyranny of Goblins are exceptional. I’m not a big fan of goblins in general, but I was very eager to get as many sets as I could to build a warband of Lots Of Tiny Goblins. In the end, I used three sets (the third to get a third goblin archer and a third Nimble Strike), and though the warband of Lots Of Tiny Goblins isn’t actually playing that well so far, it’s been lots of fun to play. I’ve replaced the Bugbear with a Horned Devil, and I think that’ll make a big difference...

The creatures in this set aren’t that homogeneous; their ability scores see Dex, Con, Str, Int and Cha scattered throughout. The main keyword is “Humanoid”, which only the wolf lacks. A couple of the order cards require Humanoids to use, and another card (which the set has two copies of) gives a bonus to all goblinoid attacks for a turn; the Goblin War Cry is the card that inspired me to build the goblin deck.

This lack of focus does make the deck somewhat erratic in play, and the set lacks the big “killer” cards of Sneak Attack and Killing Strike found in the previous two sets. Instead, Tyranny is more about the swarm.

Two abilities get their first cards in this set: Charisma and Constitution. Charisma gains abilities that aid your other creatures; the aforementioned Goblin War Cry gives +10 damage for the rest of the turn to all of your goblinoids, while Death Sentence allows another creature within 5 squares to make a melee attack. Constitution has a few healing effects, as well as cards that attach to provide ongoing bonuses. There are also some cards where a Con creature can attack for extra damage but take damage in return.

Attachments are a big feature of this set, with cards that increase speed, or give a penalty to your creature after you’ve gained some big bonus. I’m particularly fond ofShattered Weapon (Any 1, requires humanoid) which gives +30 melee damage, but thereafter attaches to your creature and reduces its damage by 10. It’s a lot of fun to use with Level 1 Goblins who won’t be hanging about long in any case.

As a stand-alone set, Tyranny of Goblins doesn’t excite me that much. However, as an addition to my existing collection it’s brilliant. It’s the new combinations of creatures and order cards that really make the set. The Bugbear Berserker only does 20 points of damage in melee, but has the ability to untap after an adjacent enemy creature is destroyed. That’s an interesting ability in this set, but when combined with it assisting a Sneak Attack or Killing Strike attack? That’s worth building a warband around.

The Dungeon Command range could be greatly improved by a better choice of paint palette; the order cards are also unfortunately thin and tend to bend. However, as a game, it’s showing exactly how to design a skirmish-level miniature game. One set doesn’t really do the game justice, for it is with the combinations that Dungeon Commandtruly shines. Tyranny of Goblins opens up warband building further, and is a wonderful addition to the game.
Very nice review, though I don't agree with you in some points.

1. The photo showing the warband is incorrect, if it wants to show the minis you get out of the box. The box contains a Goblin Champion (possibly the most important goblin in the box) and only 1 Bugbear Berserker. You also say that the box contains 9 different creatures, but it contains 10 like the others before. Tongue Out

2. I think that this expansion is very homogeneous. Yes, the order cards are very often not playable for some creatures, but the creatures themselves work very well together and the CHA cards really boost your little ones like crazy.

3. You didn't mention Snig the Axe who really helps the little buggers to deal some damage to the opposition before being fried on the spot. His ability brings a complete new play style to the table.

4. I LOVE goblins! Wink As you might suspect this is my favourite set by far.

Otherwise I mostly agree with you. And the paint job on the goblins could have been better, indeed. Especially the suits look as if they were simply dipped in colour and taken out again to dry.
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