NewbieDM Review: Sinister Woods Dungeon Tiles

Posted on October 22, 2009 by


I’m a huge fan of Dungeon Tiles, as I feel that they open up creativity that maybe wasn’t there before as you build your maps.  I don’t necessarily feel that every encounter area deserves to be plotted out with multiple tile sets, but certainly you can devote the big fight of the night or a boss encounter some time to come up with a nice encounter area.  And that’s where the strength of the tiles comes into play, because I really think that  they help you visualize an encounter area and go beyond the simple 20×20 room with no dressing or terrain.

A new set was recently released, Sinister Woods, and I went ahead and picked up a couple of packs.  One of the things that irritates me about the way they are packaged is this need for secrecy about the contents inside.  I wish the folks at WOTC were more forthcoming about what’s included in the package in their previews, so I’m going to provide a service here at NewbieDM for those of you curious about this latest pack.

As you can tell and were probably expecting, there are plenty of outdoor tiles in the set, and plenty of trees to go along with them.  The strong point of this set, in my opinion, is the great complement it makes to the previously released (and now out of print) set “Ruins of the Wild”.  There are also some pretty nice transition tiles here, leading into dungeons, ruins or whatever else you may come up with.

The tiles are divided as follows:

  • 3 8×8 pieces
  • 3 3×8 pieces
  • 6 4×4 pieces
  • 6 2×4 pieces
  • 9 2×2 pieces
  • 3 1×2 small pieces (rubble, thorns, ruins)

One thing of note, the included map shows an encounter area built with 2 sets, a trend recently started by WOTC, as with earlier releases the tiles showed maps created with only 1 set.  There are also more tiles marked by the “difficult terrain” symbols, which as a DM, I’d like to determine myself what is difficult terrain, a minor gripe.  Also, and I’m sure this is an exception, my tiles are a little damaged, with the print peeling off the cardboard in a few pieces.  I haven’t opened my second set, so I don’t know if it’s isolated or not.  Normally the tiles are of great quality, so I’m assuming it’s a random, isolated case.

So in closing, the transition tiles and it’s compatibility with the previous outdoor set make this a great buy, although I think more than one set would be necessary to create truly epic encounter areas.  Either way, it’s a great set so go get it today.  At 10 bucks a set, it’s not a bad deal.

Posted in: 4e D&D, DM Tools, Gaming