There is currently a Citadel Realm of Battle Gameboard sitting on open display in our local Battle Bunker, so I thought it would be appropriate to offer a review of the product at this point since the item is now readily available for both customer inspection and pre-orders. Before I begin I want to offer a disclaimer. We all know the price of the item and I think we all as regular GW fans and customers have an opinion on that. To avoid the inevitable debate, anger and digression that often accompany discussions of price, especially those that are more than $200, I am going to limit myself to reviewing the product itself at this time with as little mention of price as possible. I realize it’s a huge issue for many people in this case, so I won’t ignore it entirely, but my focus will be aimed firmly on the product. The price topic has been discussed here on BoLS already more than once and on other forums as well. Rather than flog a dead Ork or an undead skeleton warrior, let’s have a good look at the product itself, shall we?
First, if you are thinking about buying the Realm of Battle Gameboard (heretofore referred to as the RBG for the sake of brevity) and haven’t seen it in person or at least seen the closeup pictures of it in the latest White Dwarf, you should definitely do that. The little details and artistic flourishes in the board sections themselves are terrific. Details such as what appear to be overgrown tiles from ruined structures, small naturalistic rock piles, occasional bones with skulls and shallow pits filled with skulls abundantly adorn the board. The larger decorative areas like the tiled regions and skull pits can be placed to appear random or placed together to create thematic areas for games. These features are also recessed in a way such that they will not snag your movement trays for Fantasy Battle. The details and their execution are well done. I am quite impressed with the look of this product now that I’ve seen it up close and personal. Seriously, the look of it alone exceeded my expectations and it was fun just to go over it for a while and scrutinize all the great little details sculpted into it. It was mesmerizing!
Second, the RBG is of high physical quality. The whole set weighs 30 lbs., hence the $15 shipping fee in the $290 price if you order it by mail from the US GW online store. Each board section is a chunky, relatively thick piece of plastic and the back of each board section is filled with a cross-hatch grid that reinforces it. The result is that each board section is rigid and durable enough for someone weighing more than 200 lbs. to stand upon it with no damage or deformation. I’ve seen this demonstration for myself and again, the RBG lived up to an extremely high expectation of quality. This is not a product that will be damaged easily in either casual use or transport.
Third, the carrying bag for the RBG is lightweight and durable. The inside has a pouch for the clips that are used to secure the board sections during play and there are plenty of extra clips included in case you lose a few here and there over time.
So, is it worth it? Again, I want to avoid getting bogged down in a discussion of price as that’s already been done to death. Every customer will have to make that decision for themselves and I don’t think anyone is saying that $275 US or £150 is not a lot of money. However, just on the quality of the product alone I would have to say that if this is something that interests you and it’s not completely outside of your potential price range, you owe it to yourself to take a close look at it. The quality is excellent, the product is versatile and relatively portable and easy to store, and it is truly beautiful to look at. Another thing in its favor is that it is so well made you should never have to replace it, so expensive as it may be it should provide years of enjoyment to its purchasers. The concept and execution of this product will likely please anyone considering purchasing it and if there are indeed specialty expansion tiles planned for the future as mentioned in the recent issue of White Dwarf, then the worthwhile nature and fun value of this product will only go up over time.
I know this product will be a tough call for many people now due to the cost. Hopefully, this review will help some customers decide whether or not this product is right for them. Whether or not you were planning to buy the game board or not or even need something like it or not, check it out for yourself if and when you have the chance. It is pretty cool!