Categorized | Reviews, RPGs

Cathedral of Chaos Review

Posted on June 1, 2012 by Michael Holland

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    Wizards of the Coast’s dungeon tile set, Cathedral of Chaos, arrived in the mail recently. I am an avid collector of dungeon tiles and I use them quite often at my game table so please keep that in mind when I say Cathedral of Chaos is both the best dungeon tile set I have seen in quite a while as well as the worst.

    What I Liked

      View slideshow: Cathedral of Chaos – D&D Dungeon Tiles

      The set provides quite a few interesting architectural pieces as well as several inspired tiles which made me cheer as I popped them out. Smoke filled tiles, demolished areas, raised daises and ice/fire tiles add a lot of interesting terrain options to a DM’s arsenal.

      The token sheet is awesome and provides dozens of unique features which many DMs have been asking about for some time. Statues, magical effects, patches of mushrooms, and walls of vines/ice/fire/lightning make these tokens not only useful for DMs but for players as well. Even if this were the only good sheet in the pack I would still recommend this product to all gamers.

      What I Did Not Like

        WOTC experimented with some diagonal tiles in this set and while I was delighted to see them I found them cumbersome to use. Most of them do not match well with other dungeon tiles. DMs deploying these particular tiles are going to be putting half squares and other strange shapes on the table. Experience has taught us this is a huge mistake.

        Back in January Chris Perkins touched on this topic in his article Design and Development: Battle Map Bonanza.

        At Wizards, we have a not-so-secret rule governing diagonal lines on tactical maps: A diagonal line can never pass through the middle of a grid square, because that raises questions about whether a character can occupy that space or not. So, instead of running from one corner of a square to the opposite corner, a diagonal line must pass through the midpoints of a square’s sides

        WOTC broke their own “not-so-secret” rule with this tile set and the result is a mess for DMs to sort out. Trying to eliminate the odd spaces proved troublesome at best. In most cases when I found a solution I was putting two diagonal tiles together to become a rectangle which completely defeated the purpose of these tiles. Ultimately this meant a portion of this set are going to cause problems at the game table and will more than likely be tossed aside by most DMs.

        As a warning to buyers I am very careful when I punch out my tiles. I don’t want to damage my new toys before I get a chance to play with them. Even with my usual caution I still tore a couple tiles before I realized this set is not quite as sturdy as previous. These tiles feel a little lighter than usual so you should be extra, extra careful while popping yours out.

        Should you buy this product?

          Overall I think Cathedral of Chaos is a great buy. Despite some questionable tile choices and a minor quality issue I think a majority of this set are tiles I will never be able to live without in the future. I am going to get a lot of use out of this set as both a player and a DM.

          Review by Michael Holland

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