Magic the Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers Initial Impression

Ha! You were expecting more Paper City stuff?

Not today. Today I am reviewing my initial impression of HeroScape: Re-Skinned, or as Wizards of the Coast is calling it: Magic the Gathering – Arena of the Planeswalkers.

This image is property of WotC and Hasbro. Please don’t sue me!

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Reviews I read of the game have been mixed, but I missed out on HeroScape when it came out and hey, 35 miniatures for $30 is a deal I can’t say no to! (I feel that thanks to Amazon Prime I only paid $24 but be warned, some ass-hat is selling it for $50 – RIPOFF!!!)

Be advised that the rules as they are written, you are not allowed to have more than one set of monster to summon, so there is little value in buying a second box unless you want to have two of the same color facing off or more terrain tiles (will get to those in a sec).

I know my photos aren’t the greatest, but I own them since I took them.

Okay, the game comes with:

  • 6 modular board pieces
  • 4 plastic terrain pieces
  • 4 plastic glyphs
  • 2 temple ruins
  • 5 painted Planeswalker mini figures
  • 30 squad mini figures (unpainted, but color-coded)
  • 1 20-sided die
  • 8 combat dice
  • 30 damage counters
  • 60 spell cards
  • 10 Squad stat cards
  • 5 Planeswalker cards
  • Rulebook

As you can see below, the miniature sculpts are not too horrible, though I don’t know what they were thinking with those Rhino Soldiers, cuz the heads are in a weird pose. I wanna see what they look like painted up though. Anyway, the Rhinos are Rhox Veterans, and the Humans are Kor Hookmasters. Three of each. Wait a sec… INCH AND A HALF BASES!? OH HELL NO!!! But at least they are still 30mm tall. These are getting re-based soon as my projects list diminishes a bit. And since they are getting re-based, they are definitely getting painted! For white, I’m thinking the base is going to be a field of golden grass…

White is lead by Gideon Jura, Combat Mage. Personally I would have rather seen Ajani or Elspeth, but that’s just me). Again, needs re-basing and the Mana Magical Effect should be white and gold in my opinion.

Blue Creatures don’t really need painting, since the human Sculpts are Illusionary Projections and the weird ones are Leyline Phantoms. Will do the bases up to look like water though…

Apparently Blue’s leader – Jace Beleron, Mind Mage – is such a good illusionist I was unable to take a decent photo of him. The bastard. But Jace is probably my favorite of the Blue Planeswalkers, so great choice there!

Black has some very good sculpts, and here are three Restless Zombies and Three Blighted Reavers. When I do paint these, the zombies will most likely get blackened and rusted armor with purple and gray skin, while the the Blight Reavers will get ash-gray with bright purple highlights. The base will most likely be a pile of bones. The Blight Reavers could serve as Large Zombies, so maybe mount a metal washer under them and a magnet to a large base so they can double as DnD minis.

Black is lead by Lilliana Vess, Necromancer. Another good choice!

The Fire Creatures really don’t need painting, except maybe a yellow wash. I wonder if I can find some transparent yellow paint to make a wash out of… Basing will most likely be either rocky ground, fire, or magma… not sure yet. The Firecats are actually a 2-hex base, which measures 3 inches long. I figure mount washers under them and make a magnetic huge base. They could serve as Huge Fire Elementals. The Pheonixi could also have a washer mounted under them for Large Fire Elementals.

Red is lead by Chandra Nalaar, Pryomancer. The only other red Planeswalker that comes to mind for me is Koth, but I like Chandra as well.

For green we have Elf Rangers and Pummelroot Elementals. The Elementals probably don’t need to be rebased, since they are essentially Large Creatures. Do up a Magnetized base just like the Blight Reavers and Pheonixi Both sets of sculpts are generic as hell, and if I paint them they will still be generic as hell. Their bases will be their chance to shine though, since I will use some of my home-made green flock and some small bushes.

Green is lead by Nissa Revane, Animist. No Garruk Wildspeaker?! Shame on you WotC! How could you not choose Garruk. Oh yeah, you decided to dick with the story line and have him tortured into an insane Planeswalker Killing Machine. HE BETTER BE THE FOCUS OF A FUTURE EXPANSION!

Anyway, the Set comes with two 2.5d ruins. which are easy enough to make on your own if you have any skills with drawing or image editing. Might try my hand at that this weekend.

Ooh! I managed to catch part of Jace. Sneaky illusionist wasn’t so sneaky this time!

Here are the Spell Cards and Stat Cards. The artwork on both are good and the spells are basically imports of the MtG cards of the same name.

And Finally here are the Terrain Tiles. Which should have been double-sided, not single sided with storyline fluff on the back. SAVE THE FLUFF FOR THE RULESBOOKS OR INSERTS AND GIVE US SOME MORE FRACKING TERRAIN!!! I don’t know what the hell WotC was thinking on this one. Someone needs a kick in the balls for that particular dumbassery. But I digress. I will point out that unless your playing surface is completely level, they will not lock together (as seen below, my wife was trying to get them to hold still).

The 1.5 inch based figures fight on a hex mat with hexes that measure 2 inches accross point-to-point, from side to side they measure 1.75 and the sides measure 1 inch. It shouldn’t be too difficult to make your own using Chip-board and computer printouts. HeroScapers has some pretty good downloadable single-type terrain, though an enterprising soul should have little difficulty using image editing software to make their own.

Anyway, the game also comes with some Sandstone 3d terrain (that was being held by the Green Creatures when I was taking pictures):

They are VERY Reminiscent of HeroScape tiles:

Doing some research, it turns out that they are EXACTLY the same as the HeroScape tiles. So either hit E-Bay, or you can find some wooden halves through Lyris if you want to expand upon what comes with the game. You could also cast your own tiles with resin or hyrdostone if you buy Hirst Arts Mold #181. Or you can check out this tutorial on how to create a mold and cast your own tiles. And Finally, there is Fat Dragon Game’s Hexmaster 1 and Hexmaster 2 3-d paper terrain.

Having not had a chance to play the game yet, my initial impression is that potential exists. I hope to field a full review Monday, but all in all I can’t complain for the price paid. If I didn’t say it before, 35 miniatures (5 pre-painted!) for less than $30 is a great deal and even if I don’t use the terrain tiles for Dungeons and Dragons, there is still the 2.5d terrain tiles and miniatures. I also foresee need for more expansions than the one WotC has scheduled for Dec 31 of this year.