The Volcarren Wasteland was one of the original terrain expansions for the Heroscape series. It features 2 fiery new types of terrain and one new squad to terrorize the battlefield, the Obsidian Guards.
I will review both the terrains and the Obsidian Guards in this review on the different aspects they possess to give my general impression of what they bring to the table.
The two terrains in this set make what was once a safe to traverse playing field filled with grass and sand and calm water and now fill it with potentially fatal lava spaces that most figures will want to avoid at all costs!
I LOVE THESE SPACES!
There are two kinds of spaces this set introduces.
There are the magma field spaces that figures can walk across as normal, but can potentially damage any figure foolish enough to end their turn on such a field.
They add a treacherous yet still functional element to the battlefield.
And then there are the molten lava spaces that will instantly incinerate any figure that steps into it, unless luck is on their side because they have a 5% chance to survive such a bold step.
Both of these terrain pieces add a new tactical element to the game. Position is always important to where you place your figures in Heroscape, but now you have to worry about an assault from your opponent’s figures as well as entering deadly terrain.
I definitely enjoy the molten lava terrain the most out of this set. My favorite aspect of it is to create obstacles that certain figures abilities allow them to toss or somehow manipulate an enemy figure and get them to enter the lava and become destroyed.
It is so fun to chuck a powerful figure at full life into a molten pool and watch your opponents jaw drop at their sudden loss. Their faces may become as red as the terrain they are now staring at where there figure once stood…
I enjoy the new level this terrain can bring the game to. You can make lava pits and molten streams that direct the flow of battle yet do not hinder line of sight.
These pieces are a great addition to Heroscape; I have no end of excitement about them.
THE OBSIDIAN GUARDS
The Obsidian Guards are a very terrain specific squad that is meant to fight on the fiery volcanic tiles.
I have a mixed opinion on these figures. They are a very pricey squad for their abilities if they re anywhere but on the volcanic terrain. Of course this is the point of how they are created. They are designed to be on themed boards with a strong fire element.
My biggest complaint is I wish they were still a good all around figure, but gain a bonus when on their home turf, but instead they are a decent figure when on their terrain, but are not worth their cost when outside of it.
In newer series expansions, helper figures have been released to help boost their slow movement and give them a little pick me up. But at my gaming table, even if the board is an active volcano of fire, they rarely shine as a valuable draft.
They do possess a certain fun factor since they can traverse the molten terrain with no impairment, and they gain a limited ranged attack. They have good battle stats, but their slow speed and limited range allow them to be picked off by most armies before they can shine.
I give this expansion 7 out of 10. The terrain is an absolute 10, I have bought several of this expansion just for the molten lava tiles alone. They really open new doors of creative board design.
However the Obsidian Guards themselves are a 4 in my opinion. They are too niche for my liking, I like figures that can be played in any army, and are less dependent on the board around them. If they cost just a little less they would be worth their weight in points in or out of lava.
This set is still a must buy. The terrain is awesome and the Guards still are fun if used right. Just be careful. Don’t send them trudging up to the enemy. That’s why they are called “Guards”. Keep them back on their home terrain and let them reign fiery molten death from above to helpless enemy figures below.
I agree with your review.
Regarding the Obsidian Guards, I find them more useful for custom scenarios. We have used them as a neutral unit, much like the Feral Troll in one of the online scenarios.
In the beginning we tried to use them in standard games, but they were really not worth the cost. If they had been given a better range, when on lava, they would probably be chosen every once in a while. But not as they are now.