review: Kre-O Dungeons & Dragons Lightning Cannon (A6737)

a6737-front-cover
This set is also sold as “Dungeons & Dragons Wallbreaker Javelin.”

One of the major advantages that Kre-O has over the other building block brands is its access to Hasbro’s plethora of intellectual properties. Transformers! G.I. Joe! Er… Battleship. Unlike Lego or Mega Bloks, Kre-O didn’t need to negotiate in order to acquire rights to produce sets based on these firmly established and lucrative brand names. When Mega Bloks announced that they were going to produce a line of sets based on the insanely popular World of Warcraft fantasy MMORPG, Kre-O responded in turn by releasing sets based on the legendary Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game universe. 

a6737-backUpping the ante, Kre-O also included cards and optional rules for a simple tabletop game with their sets. Here, we see two kids supposedly playing the game. Also note the logo for Oxford, the South Korean building block brand from whom Hasbro sources its Kre-O pieces, at the bottom of the packaging.

same-kidBefore we continue, I must ask: Am I crazy, or are the two excited players on the packaging the same kid? Like, did Hasbro Photoshop the kid to try to get him to look like somebody different and then show him playing against himself? I guess Hasbro could have found twin brothers, but there’s something weird about the way both kids look. It’s like they’re digital composites of children or something. Weird… Let’s get back to the review.

a6737-contentsParts come in three bags. A sticker sheet is also included. The cannon piece comes with two projectiles. The instruction booklet comes rolled and banded. I understand that rolling the instructions was done to conserve space for the parts, but it doesn’t make reading the instructions particularly easy. The pages simply don’t lay flat and tend to curl up as you put the set together.

a6737-cardsTwo “Character Cards,” three “Challenge Cards” and rules for the optional game are also included. It’s not entirely clear how the Challenge Cards are supposed to be used since they’re not mentioned in the game rules. Maybe they’re for a single player campaign? There’s also no explanation as to what the stats on the Character Cards do, since the number in the upper right-hand corner determines the number of player turns.

a6737-kreo-brickYou also receive a 2×4 brick with the Kre-O logo printed on its side. It’s not integral to either build in the set, so I’m not sure why it was included. Just promoting the brand, I suppose.

a6737-archera6737-orcI don’t really have much to say about the included Kreons. The printing on both the human and the orc archer is nicely done and impressively detailed. Their accessories are adequately intricate in detail. I will say that the ball joints at the hip on both figures make standing the Kreons on the supplied circular baseplates a bit of a chore. Aside from that, they’re pretty good.

a6737-battlementThe first build in the set is what appears to be a frontline battlement. It’s an effective, if simplistic, stationary structure. The barrier is on a hinge which allows it to be angled to a degree.

a6737-cannon-3shotThis mobile cannon is the central build of the set. The cannon is spring-loaded, and pressing the circular tile on the back launches the projectile with considerable force. You can also adjust the trajectory of your shot by raising or lowering the cannon. The cannon also has one other play feature. Rolling the artillery piece forward or backward causes the spears to move in a choppy up-and-down fashion. If you think about it, though, that chopping action wouldn’t really be all that practical on the battlefield. For one thing, the cannon would be rather heavy. There’s no visible power source to move it, so it would probably require several orcs to push it into firing position. It wouldn’t be able to move with great speed, meaning the chopping would be equally sluggish. I suppose the orcs could try to let the cannon roll downhill into a crowd of human soldiers as a last-ditch offensive tactic, but it would be rather hard not to see a cannon barreling down on you on an open battlefield.

a6737-completeConclusion

MSRP for this set is approximately USD$12. The printing on the Kreon minifigures  and their accessories are considerably detailed. The battlement is rather rudimentary, but the cannon makes up for the battlement’s plainness with multiple play features. The included game is a nice gesture, but the rules are so simplistic that the game almost comes off as an afterthought. One other factor to consider is that this set is a Toys “R” Us exclusive like most other Kre-O sets. Does the set pictured above look like it’s worth twelve bucks? I don’t know. As it happens, I was able to acquire this set at a discount. Pick it up if you can find it on sale, I guess.

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