Friday, 6 February 2015

Dungeons and Dragons: Knight’s Catapult (Kre-O Review)

It’s been a while since I’ve looked at any Kre-O, and all of my previous posts (and purchases) on the subject have related to Transformers. But today, we take a look at another license that Hasbro is using for these building toys – Dungeons and Dragons.

I’ve discussed on numerous occasions my love for the game here – but these Kre-O sets do not really seem to be intended to be incorporated into a “proper” game of Dungeons and Dragons (though no one is stopping you from doing so). Rather, they seem to be elements for creating a Crossbows and Catapults-style wargame. 

This is a starter pack and comes with two main elements. A catapult (complete with three marble-sized projectiles) and a small barricade with a flag. The catapult apparently goes with the Orc and the barricade with the Barbarian, but I’m sure you can mix them up as you see fit. There are also a few details about rules included too, and some relevant cards. I pretty much just skipped over these, as I won't be playing. 

Kreons – the name Hasbro has given their little Kre-O people—are quite visually endearing. Aesthetically, they sit somewhere between a Minifigure and Minimate; like the aforementioned products, a base body is used to create all the characters, with differentiation coming via paint apps and accessories.

In the plus column, they have increased articulation in comparison with a minifigure. Their shoulders and hips are ball-jointed, and their torso can also swivel. This comes at a price though; the torso is wont to pop straight off, as there is only one plug and very little friction holding it to the waist. As a result, the whole thing tends to feel fragile and delicate in comparison with your average minifigure. In spite of their shortcomings, the two included with this set are both a lot of fun.   

The Barbarian is the main reason I bought this kit. Though I am primarily a DM, Barbarians are my favourite class to play. You can definitely see touches of Frank Frazetta’s take on Conan in him, but he’s distinct enough that they’re not in danger of getting sued. He comes with an axe, which he holds in one hand on promo art – but it seems like it’s actually a greataxe, and he can grip it in both hands.  
Of course a Barbarian with a mighty axe is useless without an enemy to hack into, and so the set comes with an Orc too. He’s wearing heavy armour, in contrast to the barbarian’s bare chest. 

Presumably he’s a devotee of Gruumsh, based on the scar over his eye, and stitched up eyelid. He’s much cooler than I thought he would be – distinct enough to be an individual character, while generic enough to be an army builder. He’s armed with a massive, bone-crushing hammer. You would certainly not want to be on the receiving end of one of its blows.

Both figures also include a stand for stability in posing. It fits the Barbarian fine, but the Orc seems quite awkward on it, and won’t fit properly in regular standing pose.   

I could see myself picking up some of the blind-bagged army builders that Hasbro has released to support this line, but I don’t think I’ll invest further in the starter sets like these. Though better than I anticipated, I am quite content playing the more traditional form of Dungeons and Dragons, and ultimately my heart belongs to Lego when it comes to building toys. But this kit will make a nice supplement to my Castle-themed sets.  

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