In Reaping the Rewards, I take a look at the finished product from a crowdfunding campaign. Today, I’ll take a look at the Miniatures Expansion for Vast: The Crystal Caverns. The Miniatures Expansion was successfully funded on Kickstarter in December 2016, along with a second printing of the game and the Fearsome Foes expansion. I’ll save the Fearsome Foes for a separate post, and just focus on the miniatures for now. The expansions are currently on their way to backers, and will be hitting stores on January 30, 2018.
What Is Vast: The Crystal Caverns?
The first thing you need to know is that this “expansion” is just a set of miniatures, and is not a game in itself. It’s designed for the game Vast: The Crystal Caverns, which I reviewed in July 2016 and picked for my Game of the Year for 2016. It’s a totally asymmetrical game in which each player has a different goal and set of rules. It’s a fascinating experience—one player can even be the Cave itself!
What Is the Miniatures Expansion?
The Miniatures Expansion is a set of plastic miniatures and components for Vast: The Crystal Caverns. It’s not necessary for the game and doesn’t really change any of the gameplay—mostly it just makes everything look cooler. It retails for $35 and may be available to order from Leder Games at the end of January.
Here’s what it comes with:
- Entrance Ladder
- 3 Goblins (Fang Tribe, Bones Tribe, Eye Tribe)
- Sleeping Dragon
- Awake Dragon
- 3 Dragon Gems
- Flame Wall
- 9 Crystals
- 3 Rock Walls
- 12 Treasure Chests
- 6 Vaults
Here are some close-ups of the miniatures, along with comparisons to the cardboard standees from the core game (to show how they compare to Kyle Ferrin’s illustrations). The sculpts were done by Chad Hoverter and Patrick Fahy, and they did a great job bringing Ferrin’s illustrations into three dimensions.
Active Player token
The whole thing comes in a box that is almost as large as the Vast box itself: it’s the same dimensions except not quite as tall, so they stack nicely on the shelf together. There’s a plastic molded insert that holds all of the components (with a simple well for the small bits). I thought about trying to get everything into the core box, but these miniatures are large enough and the core box is full enough that it just doesn’t really fit—you’ll probably just have to live with having two boxes if you want the miniatures.
The one choice that seems odd to me is that the Miniatures Expansion has room in the insert for the three characters from the Fearsome Foes expansion: the Nightmare Unicorn, the Ghost, and the Ghoul (as seen in the lower right of the photo above). Those miniatures come included in the Fearsome Foes expansion, and not with the other miniatures—and the Fearsome Foes box also has room for them in its own insert. It seems like it would have made more sense to have the expansion without miniatures, so that those who don’t want miniatures would get just the core game and the expansion, and those who want miniatures would then get all the miniatures in one go. But, if you’re a Vast-oholic like me, you’re probably going to wind up with all of this anyway, so maybe it doesn’t really matter.
Should You Get the Miniatures Expansion?
That is totally a matter of your personal preferences and finances, I suppose. The game plays perfectly fine without them, but my kids are crazy for plastic miniatures and they’ve been excited about these ever since they were announced. The cardboard standees from the core game have the unfortunate design that hides the bottom of the illustration inside the plastic stand, and the wooden meeples from the core game aren’t great. (In particular, my kids think the Knight looks like a tea kettle and the crouching dragon looks like a red rubber duck.)
The miniatures are pretty large—as you can see from the photo above, the entrance ladder takes up a significant amount of space on a tile, and the crystals are also much bigger than the little plastic gems or cardboard tiles included in the game. (Treasure chests are pretty small still.) That can make a tile get pretty crowded if you have several different players fighting over something, but so far we’ve managed okay.
The lantern, the active player marker, is cool, but we never remembered to use it. There isn’t an active player marker in the core game, and I’ve never really had too much problem remembering whose turn it is, but I suppose if that’s an issue, now you’ve got a nice (large) token to pass around.
Overall, I think the Miniatures Expansion is a very nice, even if not absolutely necessary, add-on for fans of Vast: The Crystal Caverns. It doesn’t change the gameplay but it does upgrade the look and feel. The miniatures should be available starting January 30—check back with the Leder Games website for more!
Disclosure: I received a review copy of the miniatures expansion (and also backed the Kickstarter campaign).