Getting miniatures for D&D can be a daunting task. There are miniatures specifically designed for D&D out there, but they can be expensive. Luckily, we found an easy and cheap way to get D&D Miniatures – using the D&D Board Games!
In this article, we will go over the miniatures in the D&D Board Games and why they are the best way to get started with miniatures for D&D. We’ll outline what miniatures each of the board games contains so that you can pick which one best suits your needs!
Why Use Board Game Miniatures
These board games use highly detailed plastic figures that are similar in quality to the official D&D miniatures sold and have the iconic characters, monsters, and bosses from Dungeons & Dragons included. Each board game comes with around 40 miniatures, and this is a way cheaper price than you’ll generally pay for D&D miniatures.
Each board game is also themed, so you’ll get many miniatures that suit a specific theme (eg. horror or jungle themes). If you can find a theme that suits the game you are running, then you can get some hero figures and monsters that match the setting of your campaign in one easy to pick up bundle, helping to make your game more immersive without too much effort.
Board Game Miniatures Lists
Castle Ravenloft Miniatures
The Castle Ravenloft board game is set in a gothic horror world, where there are mostly evil undead enemies and the vampire Strahd von Zarovich. This is perfect to pick up if you’re going to be playing a game in a similar setting and is particularly suited to the Curse of Strahd campaign.
There are 42 miniatures in the Castle Ravenloft Board Game, with 5 hero miniatures, 30 monster miniatures, and 7 boss miniatures. These miniatures come pre-assembled and unpainted. The full list of miniatures is as follows:
There is a nice variety of monsters for a dungeon, but the monsters you get are 3 identical sculpts, so you’ll need to paint them each differently. The heroes included are common heroes that would make a good starting party and are all in nice dynamic poses.
There is also a good variety of bosses that are nice models, with the large monsters included usually costing quite a bit when you buy the models individually. The Dracolic is a particularly nice model, being quite large (about 90mm tall by 120mm long) and a really cool sculpt.
Temple of Elemental Evil Miniatures
The setting for the temple of elemental evil is one of high adventure and mystery, set in a world where elemental creatures are trying to bring their evil into the real world. This is perfect if you’re playing D&D with a more fantasy focus and contains some great monsters that are focused around the elements, such as fire cult warriors and water elementals.
There are 42 miniatures in the Temple of Elemental Evil board game, with 5 heroes, 30 monsters, and 7 bosses.
The heroes in this set again are pretty standard race-class combinations that would make for a good starting party. There are quite a lot of models, with a few good standards such as a dragon, bugbears, and warriors. But as you can see in the list the majority of the monsters are focused around an element, so probably not the best pick for generic dungeons and dragons miniatures.
Legend of Drizzt Miniatures
Drizzt is a famous D&D character, so of course, he has his own board game and miniatures. Drizzt is a dark elf character that goes through redemption, and so in this game he comes with a few companion heroes and some ferocious beasts to fight against.
The board game follows the story, providing miniatures for lots of villains from the actual story, which can probably be repurposed for other NPCs. There is also a pretty good selection of standard goodies, with a selection of drows, 7 goblins, a mind flayer, and a great-looking Balor model.
I wouldn’t say it’s the best pick up for your first set of miniatures especially if you’re looking for monsters (even though goblins are always handy), but the selection of heroes, drows, and villains make it great if you want something to cover for NPCs.
Tomb of Annihilation Miniatures
The setting for the Tomb of Annihilation board game is in the savage jungles of Chult, a tropical region in D&D.
The miniatures in the game are color-coded, with the heroes being dark blue, monsters green, and villains purple. Of course, if you’re painting them this won’t make a difference.
There are a few heroes here that aren’t your standard races (eg. Tabaxi, Aarakocra, and Saurial) so if these minis are useful depends on if you have the rules available to play these in your game.
The monster miniatures are mostly jungle-themed, with loads of reptilian-looking monsters. There are some zombies and skeletons as well which are always useful.
This wouldn’t be the first of the games I’d recommend picking up for generic miniatures but makes a great supplement to an already established collection.
Wrath of Ashardalon Miniatures
The Wrath of Ashardalon board game is set in a forgotten dwarven stronghold, where the players will be fighting against hordes of orcs and other evil creatures until they get to fight a final boss – a red dragon.
This is perfect to pick up if you’re going to be playing a game in a similar setting and is a good start to the miniatures needed for a campaign with a wide variety of monsters like Out of the Abyss.
Out of all the sets, I think this one has the best miniatures. There are a lot of your standard monsters like kobolds and orcs, and the red dragon makes for a nice classic boss and would be a miniature that would be at least half the price of the board game on its own.
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage Miniatures
The Dungeon of the Mad Mage board game is set in the city of Waterdeep, in an underground maze dungeon. There’s a mad wizard who has filled the dungeon with all sorts of obstacles to finding a treasure, including many monsters that you get miniatures for.
This set includes 42 miniatures and comes in a standard edition where all the miniatures are solid plastic (green for monsters, blue for heroes and bosses, or a premium edition that has all the miniatures pre-painted.
The miniatures in this set are decent for any D&D campaign that takes place in a city or dungeon setting because you get both the heroes as well as many different monsters to represent the dangers within the Dungeon of Mad Mage. You get a set of 5 minis for the hero party, and like most of the other board games outlined, these make for a good standard party.
With the enemies you get some good human enemies such as veterans and thugs, but it’s lacking on your standard monsters such as goblins, kobolds, and skeletons. It does have a couple of beholder figures and a pretty cool-looking Scaladar (which is like a mechanical scorpion), but no huge figures are included.
You can also get boosters for these if you want more matching miniatures, but boosters tend to be an expensive way of getting the minis you want.
Of course, this game is perfect for collecting a bunch of miniatures that are well suited to the official 5e module of the same namesake.
Assault of Giants Miniatures
This game isn’t like the others on the list because it’s a newer game made by a different manufacturer and not part of the Adventure System. You only get 12 miniatures and these are large giants (on 2” bases), while the giants in 5e are huge giants (3” bases) so not a great pick-up for using in D&D games.
I would not recommend this game for use in standard D&D games due to the size difference of the miniatures. See here for size reference.
Other Useful Items you get in the Board Games
The board games come with other items that you may find useful in your regular D&D game. These are:
- Dungeon Tiles – These are tiles you can place on the table to put together a dungeon on the fly.
- Items cards – These cards have various items on them that can be used in your adventures.
- D20 Dice – You only get the D20 dice, but hey, who has ever said no to more dice.
Expanding your Collection
If you want to expand your collection these all work very nicely with the official D&D Icons of the Realms packs. With these, you can buy starter packs or booster boxes (which are sealed packs containing a random figure), or you can buy the official D&D miniatures as individual packs. This is a much more expensive option than the board games, and I recommend buying a few individual packs if needed in a campaign to make up for any gaps in your collection.
There are also plenty of other board games that have miniatures suitable for D&D. You want to be careful picking these up to make sure that they have the miniatures you want (some just have lots of men), and that they’re the right scale to go with standard miniatures. Personally, I think other board games are a lot of work to figure out what’s suitable, and D&D Board games provide miniatures that are already D&D themed. If you are looking for more though, the Magic the Gathering Arena of the Planeswalker board games are worth looking at, as they are closely themed and also made by WotC, so I believe the scale is compatible. There is a Base Game, Innistrad Set, and Expansion Game.
There are also several expansions for the D&D adventure system that provide additional models. Unfortunately at the time of writing, they are all out of print and cost ridiculous amounts to get your hands on. If you happen to find one cheap 2nd hand though, each has about 12 models and are pretty good.
The expansions are:
- Sting of Lolth
- Heart of Cormyr
- Blood of Gruumsh
- Curse of Undeath
- Tyranny of Goblins
If you’re looking for a cheap way to get miniatures, then the D&D board games are the perfect solution. Board games present an excellent opportunity to get a bunch of miniatures without breaking the bank. The Dungeons and Dragons board games are reasonably priced considering the number of miniatures they contain, have miniatures that are perfectly themed, and will match other D&D minis you may buy in the future.