Dicey Ventures Earth and Arcane 2D Neoprene Terrain cut outs are durable and easy to transport. The artwork, while stylized and not highly detailed, effectively helps set a scene and allows for easy game prep. At $25.00 USD Dungeons & Dragons DMs are getting their money’s worth in items and quality.
A few weeks ago, the good folks at Dicey Ventures Studios asked if I would take a look at one of their products and let you, my good D20 rolling friends out there in the interwebs, know what I thought. I’ve never done any kind of formal review of, well, ANYTHING really. I started writing these articles to inform new people getting into this great game, not to get free swag or sell stuff. I thought about it, and after checking out their website decided to go for it. I was worried that if I didn’t like the product I’d be wasting their time and mine. I was relieved when I got my hands on the Dicey Ventures Earth and Arcane 2D Terrain Kit. It’s a product to help with Dungeons & Dragons mapping, a subject we haven’t covered yet but it’s on the list.
Basically, these are pre-drawn, neoprene cutouts (a total of 30 pieces of different sizes) you can lay on your map/playmat/whiteboard (whatever you use for mapping during your game) to quickly set a scene. The cutouts themselves are very well made, I tried to make a crease in them with no success. My first thought there was “Great, I can fold them up and stuff them in an old dice bag for easy transport”. Any DM will tell you that minimizing all the crap you have to carry is a constantly evolving skill. Kudos to Dicey Ventures for recognizing that. Now, as an old 4th edition DM, there were tons of tile sets being released, but they were not only expensive, but due to being cardboard you were stuck with a much larger container. Add to that 5th edition’s reduced need for mapping and kits like this really help. Most of Dungeons & Dragons 5E’s mapping doesn’t require a grid so rolling out a map and plopping these cutouts wherever you like saves time during the session as well. The backs of the cutouts also have a great non-slip style texture. Another awesome detail.
As for the artwork, at first glance, honestly I was underwhelmed. After tinkering with them a bit though, I changed my tune. Yeah, the designs aren’t super glossy or detailed, but when laid out on a map you know what’s what. This particular set kind of gives the feel of a Halfling or even a Pixie village. Houses in trees, mushroom shaped buildings and especially the coloring. Very fantasy-nature vibe. One nice touch: there are a few cutouts that depict the FRONT of a taller building. Again, my first thought was “Hmm, the proportions aren’t right here”. Until I laid it out on a map and it sunk in: It’s only a reference point on the map for the FRONT of the building. If someone enters the building, simply place their mini on the map and they’re inside. You’d have to set/draw the interior of the building anyway so I like how they allowed for that without making a larger cutout, and it also allows you to use the cutout to determine where the entrance is and draw on the map the whole building’s dimensions. This allows for any size building placed on the map quickly. Less drawing and easier prep are what these products are for, and I like this company’s ideas here.
As far as the price goes, the set they sent me retails for $25.00. I think that’s fair for what you’re getting. The packaging is simple, you know exactly what’s in the bag and can feel the durability without even opening it up. In addition to these 2d terrain kits they offer 3D printable designs as well, all their prices are reasonable for what they’re offering. A lot of gaming products are expensive but Dicey Ventures keeps things affordable. This is especially important for new DMs just starting out.
I really hope this Dicey Ventures Earth and Arcane 2D Terrain Kit review helps you guys out there, I want any rookie DM reading this to know what will help them run the best games they can and wow their players every session. I’ll be reviewing some other Dungeons & Dragons products and adventure modules here and there as my schedule allows. So enjoy your games and best of luck with those murderous, evil, wonderful, life saving D20’s!!!!
For more information on Dicey Ventures Studios and their other products, visit diceyventures.net.