You've masterminded the perfect tabletop RPG campaign. Your players are invested, they've leveled up, encountered terrifying foes, and maybe even learned something along the way. Now, it's time for the final confrontation against a horde of goblins and their nefarious leader. And as their carefully painted minis hit the table, they look upon his might castle... which you've represented with an old cardboard box. Does this scene seem familiar to you? Look, there's nothing wrong with improvising and using materials at hand to represent terrain while playing Tabletop games. In fact, we love doing - it's economical and likely more sustainable. But sometimes, for those really special RPG sessions, we like to plus things up a bit. To that end, we received from the publisher new sets of Monster Adventure Terrain to see how it looks on the table.
How To Use Monster Adventure Terrain
Adventure Terrain by Monster is a fully modular tabletop terrain building system, which uses plastic blocks and pieces that click into place to create exciting-looking set pieces. To use Monster Adventure Terrain, you first place the large clear plastic base down on your playing surface. This large surface is 12 one inch squares by 12 one inch squares, and each piece is made to click into place on the board.
By placing block tiles reminiscent of a LEGO set, you can create huts, buildings, hills, and more in this blocky world. Though everything is mostly squared off, the illusion of immersion comes from the various types of floor tiles in each set. You can lay water tiles down to create a moat, grass tiles down to create a field (or lay them on top of buildings to create a mossy, overgrown look), and cobblestone or rocky tiles down to create rough-hewn walking paths. By fitting these pieces together in a fully modular way, you can customize settings perfect for your next big tabletop RPG battle.
Does Monster Adventure Terrain Work?
All of the cubes used in the construction of buildings, hills, and other vertical constructions work very well. They snap into place easily and unsnap nicely. The "floor tiles," on the other hand, are very difficult to snap into place. These tiles are the most visually appealing, as they represent rippling water, grass, and stone in the core set (other sets include tiles mimicking magma, dense foliage, ice, and more). Whether interlocking them on building blocks or directly onto the floor of the 12x12 grid, these floor tiles take quite a bit of effort to fit snugly. Removing them is even more difficult, and we found we had to use the small blade of a utility knife to even begin to be able to pry them off the board.
The description of the product calls out how the system's "easy-snap design allows you to build and take apart in seconds!" but we sadly did not find this to be the case with the products we received. Replying to a similar complaint in the comments section of their official Kickstarter, a rep from Monster has stated that the company "will be releasing a tile removal tool to help pop the tiles off of the base plate." While the look is absolutely stunning when it's all put together, the process isn't as quick and seamless as advertised.
What Are Our Final Thoughts On Monster Adventure Terrain?
By combining sets (we were sent by Monster the Core Set, Castle Set, the Specialty Accessories Set, and several packages of miniatures) we were able to create a castle scene that really looked nice on the table. Creating a working drawbridge over a moat of glossy blue water tiles looked really striking, and adding in the specialty accessories like the barrels, ladder, and crates pictured below added obstacles and flavor to the entire scene.
As for the miniatures, these were definitely produced to serve as filler miniatures, and the detail and quality on them are definitely lo-fi. But for filling out a large castle scene the get the job done, but don't purchase the miniatures Monster creates hoping for the realism and attention to detail you see in other miniature lines. It's not even close. Overall, these products are rather tricky to put together, and do not deliver on the promise of being quick to use, but they look very sharp on the table, and would work well for those big, special, take your time encounters that populate the best and most memorable RPG scenes.
Should I Buy Monster Adventure Terrain?
If you're looking for a fully modular terrain system to change and create scenes as needed, and have the time and patience to put these together and deal with the too-tight fitting floor tiles, then Monster Adventure Terrain could be right for you and your gaming needs. But if you need something fast, flexible, and easily changeable, Monster Adventure Terrain won't hit the mark for you.
The Monster Adventure Terrain products used in the creation of this review were provided by the manufacturer.