As I mentioned before I’m a big fan of using using some type of miniatures when playing D&D. I stumbled on Fiery Dragon which has some pretty neat RPG stuff. In particular I came across their counter collection series and picked up the heroic level monster set.
The set had sheets of cut counters with every creature in the 4E monster manual for the heroic level. Inside was quite a haul, hundreds of counters printed on thick card stock. Each was printed in color, most depicting a monster from the torso up. On the flip side was the same image with a red border, indicating it was bloodied.
There were several duplicates of each creature. Most were in sets of 3-4, with minion types up to 8 in number. Also each counter had a small white circle you could write on to give each counter a number, letter, or some color designation to set it apart from the others. Additionally, in small text was the name of the creature on the bloodied side. A nice feature to keep you from guessing what they should be, but still not be so obtrusive you couldn’t use them for a proxy for some other creature type.
The counters were cut to an appropriate base, 1 inch being for most of them. The stirges were the one exception where I had to trim them with a pair of scissors to their 1/4 inch size. Some of the largest creatures were a beefier 2″ x 2″ counter.
The artwork was rather nice, and offered a fairly good representation of what’s between the pages in the MM. They offer a pretty realistic image of the creatures (i.e. not your anime big eyes, small mouth monster).While the counters are duplicated, each creature type has different artwork. So that decrepit skeleton has a different image from a normal skeleton or a bone shard skeleton.
The Good – A nice selection of counters that are easy to pop out and use. Very utilitarian, especially the flip side of each counter being a bloodied version. They are properly based and, while being printed on cardboard, nice thick durable material. The artwork is rather good and seriously done. Best of all, for the set you have a haul of creature types, with enough to use as proxies for other monster types.
The Bad – While each creature type does have a different image, many are simply different profiles with some additional weapon, armor, or color type. You do get 8 goblin cutters, all of the same image. Having a few different poses might have been nice (but then again, might add to some confusion on what they represented). Also, while the card stock is nice, it is still card stock. A spilled drink might mean you have to put several tokens up for the night while they dry out.
The Verdict – An exceptionally good buy. You get a ton of monsters for a reasonable price. Punching them out of the sheets was easy to do, and required no printing or cutting (save for the stirges) unlike most PDF products. I think WotC will be offering something similar in future products from their essentials line. However I feel with the counter collection from Fiery Dragon out there, they’ll have to step up the production value as this one is pretty hard to beat.