D&D Command – The Tyranny of Goblins
By Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)
Name: Tyranny of Goblins. System: Dungeons & Dragons™ Dungeon Command. Publisher: Wizards of the Coast. Year: 2012. Game Type: Miniature Skirmish / Card Game Hybrid.
Wizards of the Coast has long produced both D&D® and Magic: the Gathering®, but they have always been completely separate lines. That is, until now. The new Dungeon Command game system attempts to combine the tactical play of the D&D® Adventure System with the card mechanics of Magic: the Gathering®. Each player chooses from the various Commanders in each faction set and summons his Warband to destroy his opponent.
The new Tyranny of Goblins faction box is the latest addition to the Dungeons & Dragons™ Dungeon Command game system. As this is a supplement, it requires another player to have one of the other Warband boxes: Sting of Lolth, Heart of Cormyr, or the forthcoming Curse of Undeath. Each player, having their own Warband, brings map tiles to assemble the battlefield, and uses the miniatures and cards included in each faction box to play.
Each faction box comes with 12 miniatures and enough cards and counters to fully field the Warband. In this pack you get: 1x Goblin Champion, 1x Hobgoblin Sorcerer, 2x Goblin Cutters, 1x Horned Devil, 1x Feral Troll, 1x Goblin Wolf Rider, 2x Hobgoblin Soldiers, 1x Bugbear Berserker, 1x Goblin Archer, and 1x Wolf.
There are also 2 Commander Cards you can choose from to lead your Warband into battle. Tarkon Draal, Black Hand of Bane specializes in demoralizing opponents. When you’re opponent chooses to have a creature cower instead of being destroyed, the player loses an additional point of Morale. If you want a horde on the battle map quick and in a hurry, Snig the Axe will be your choice. He allows you to deploy creatures during your Refresh phase as well as the Deploy phase.
I’m not a huge fan of Goblins overall, unless I’m using them as shoes, but there are a few bright spots in this Warband. The Horned Devil is pretty tough and Reach 2 is nice, the Feral Troll can regenerate, and the Wolf Rider is hard to get rid of. Add a Sorcerer to the mix, and the aforementioned horde, and you’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
If you’re already a player of the Dungeons & Dragons™ Dungeon Command system, and are looking for a new faction, or want to throw some greenskins into your current Warband, then Tyranny of Goblins will definitely be a good addition. If you’ve not already invested in the game, you may want to skip it, after reading the word of caution below.
A Word of Caution
Sometimes when you bring elements of different genres together, something wonderful happens, and you produce an amazing, unique gaming experience. I’d love to say that happens here. Instead, what we have is a game that’s not quite Magic® and not quite D&D®. If you’re a card gamer, you’ll probably not want to mess about with the maps, miniatures, and all the tiles. If you’re a D&Der, there’s no reason to have all those cards replace dice. If you’re wargamer, and play more advanced miniatures games, this system offers little appeal.
It seems this new gaming system is aimed at board gamers with a penchant for fantasy–at least that’s the only conclusion I can draw. If that’s the case, then it is an OK system with a few drawbacks. The biggest of these is that it isn’t a complete game unless you have 2 or more sets, and at $40 a piece, buying all of the different factions could get quite expensive.
So, basically, if you’re a board gamer needing a fantasy fix, and don’t mind dropping $80 on a 2-person set, give Dungeon Command a look. …But for that much money, you might want to check out something by Fantasy Flight Games, Days of Wonder, or especially Ares Games’ War of the Ring.