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WizKids’ Watchtower terrain is the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier of D&D sets

The bastion that your gaming group deserves

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

When the “new” version of Dungeons & Dragons launches in 2024, one of the additions coming to the seminal role-playing game’s Dungeon Master’s Guide will be bastions — headquarters that groups can opt into for their games. WizKids latest creation, simply called The Watchtower, would fit the bill nicely. It’s a modular wonder that puts the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier to shame.

The plastic terrain set goes up for order on Amazon today. We’ve had it on the table for about a month, and it’s excited just about everyone who’s had the chance to play on it.

The corner bar at The Yawning Portal, complete with proprietor Durnan and a light-up hearth.
WizKids’ Yawning Portal terrain set.
Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

WizKids has been making licensed D&D bits for years now, including classic statues like their 12” Githyanki from the cover of the original Fiend Folio to their smaller, highly detailed action figures based on the classic cartoon. But the real gem for tabletop fans is their line of WarLock Tiles terrain. The snap-together kits are all compatible with one another, meaning that you can create everything from a medieval street scene to the entirety of the interior of Strahd’s castle. They even made a two-story version of The Yawning Portal (shown above), long the epicenter of adventuring life in the Forgotten Realms.

A gray plastic tower with wooden accents. There’s a portcullis at the bottom.
The base tower comes with three floors plus a rooftop level, but more floors can be added with accessory kits.
Photo: WizKids

The Watchtower set, announced earlier this year, is likewise compatible with the rest of the WarLock product line. While the stills that accompanied the announcement made it look a bit homely, once we got the final production samples in hand it’s true potential was immediately clear.

Each floor of the Watchtower is comprised of a handful of curved wall pieces with a friction fit, plus punchouts for the arrow slits. That means you can build the tower as either a sturdy fortress or a run-down ruin. Each floor locks into the one below it, so they won’t move around if someone bumps the table. You can also easily lift each floor off to get inside of the one below it. The set even comes with free-floating staircases, perfectly curved to match its circular floors. You can dress it up with pre-painted scenery kits, like the beds, chairs, and tables in the photo below, or hobby your own with modeling putty and paint to add crawling ivy, delicate balconies, or scars from spells cast by powerful wizards.

An interior scene from inside the WizKids Watchtower terrain set.
A sample of what’s possible with WizKids accessories. Floors are stable, and can be lifted off the larger model like layers on a cake.
Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

The base set ($217.49 on sale) comes with three stories plus a ring-shaped wooden roof insert and detachable battlements, plus a portcullis gate at the bottom. Even more levels can be added with WizKids optional Level Expansion ($44.99 on sale), or you can spin off a whole other tower — making two slightly smaller structures — with the Tower Parts set ($37.49 on sale). That makes it the perfect solution for groups that want to visualize and expand their headquarters over time.

My only criticisms involve the more subtle geometry of the whole thing. Out of the box, the friction fit on these parts takes some breaking in. You’ll really need to press those arrow slits and battlements into their mounts, for instance, to get them to stay put at first, but after a while that’s no longer necessary. Also, the topper — which includes the decorative arches that hold up the battlements at the top of the tower — doesn’t align with the arrow slits in the walls. That means your top-most floor, sitting just below the battlements, must always be a solid-walled floor, and not a floor with arrow slits.

For more on bastions and how the optional rules could change your campaign, check out Wizards of the Coast’s recent video explaining how they’ll work at launch in 2024. The team at WizKids tells Polygon that the Watchtower and accessories are shipping now.

The Watchtower and accessories were reviewed using retail products provided by WizKids. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.

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