Toy-Fair-2014-logo-150wideA few pics of the next collection of Dungeons & Dragons Kreons:


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Using construction bricks and minifigures for roleplaying or war games isn’t anything new. Yet to have products designed specifically for Dungeons & Dragons is pretty exciting! Thus I wasted no time in picking up a few of the just released Dungeons & Dragons Kre-O sets from Hasbro. (See my photos below.)

In case you’re not familiar with it, Kre-O is Hasbro’s system of plastic construction bricks, compatible with Lego. There are Kre-O lines for Transformers, G.I. Joe, Star Trek, CityVille Invasion, and Battleship. Among those the company has added some nice lighting and motion enhancements to the basic interlocking pieces.

While for the D&D series I haven’t seen anything high-tech, I am so far impressed with both the quality and thematic style. The fit and sturdiness of the Kre-O pieces is comparable to Lego—perhaps not equal, but comparable. The bricks hold together well; they’re neither loose nor particularly difficult to separate. And the recommended builds certainly provide the expected somewhat-dark, fantasy medieval vibe, with details such as torches, banners, and battlements. A building in one of my sets has a golden sword hidden in the attic—I’m sure there’s a story behind that.

Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.One of the features that Hasbro is promoting in its Dungeons & Dragons Kre-O line is a modular construction approach that the company calls “Rapid Rebuild”. For example, the Battle Outpost set I purchased has a castle wall section, a castle corner section, and a tavern section. These can be kept separate, or with little knobs that fit in to holes on their sides, they can be locked together in various configurations.

Kre-O minifigures, which Hasbro calls “Kreons”, are nicely detailed. For example, rather than painted-on armor, the orc Kreon’s breastplate and the barbarian’s shoulder-plates are separate pieces. Drizzt, of course, has finely sculpted white hair. Kreon arms and legs, in fact, have more freedom of movement than Lego minifigs.

Siege weapons come with certain of the larger sets and are also sold separately. There are catapults, lightning canons, and ballistae (though Hasbro’s just calling them crossbows), which shoot marbles, arrows, and rings, respectively.

One of the things that excited me pre-release was the understanding that there would be a game component to Dungeons & Dragons Kre-O. And though they’re not much, there are in fact two recommended ways to play, with more possibly coming later. The first game option is to use the provided challenge cards, which specify targets for the various siege weapons and a limit to the number of attempted shots.

The second game, only slightly more involved, has players trying to knock over each other’s Kreons. But to do so, they must take turns, drawing from separate decks of character cards (every Kreon comes with a card) to see how many shots they get to take. The player with the last figure standing is the winner.

Interestingly, character cards also show four numeric stats, which based on the symbols I take to mean weapons, armor, speed, and magic. Drizzt, for example, has weapons of 51 and magic of 45. An orc swordsman has weapons of 37 and magic of 14. However, nothing in the package suggests any use for these numbers.

Price-wise, I think Kre-O is quite reasonable. I purchased the Battle Outpost, which includes three Kreons and 176 pieces, for $17. The 22 piece Drizzt set was only $4.

Overall then, my initial excitement for Dungeons & Dragons Kre-O remains. Not only am I having fun with it as an adult, I think it has great potential to inspire younger gamers.

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Kre-O Dungeons & Dragons

Hasbro has finally provided some details for the first Dungeons & Dragons Kre-O products, scheduled to release in January. The line will work as both a series of construction toys and an expandable action battling game.

Each building set in the line provides a new play experience with competitive action battling, performance weapon accessories and a new modular building system allowing for quick rebuilds after suffering damage at the hands of opponents!

The first year of Kre-O Dungeons & Dragons will feature more than 75 different Kreon characters, including iconic D&D personalities, Drizzt and Wolfgar. There will be $3 Kreon Army Builder blind bags, each with a single Kreon figure from a set of 36, and $5 Kreon Warrior packs, each with one of 10 iconic characters plus artifacts and accessories. In all products, Kreon cards with individual combat stats will accompany each character figure.

Kre-O D&D Kreon Singles A6735

A series of Kre-O Dungeons & Dragons Battle Starter Packs will contain two Kreon figures each, a firing weapon, a target, and challenge cards (with rated shooting-skill tests). These will retail for $9.

Kre-O D&D Catapult A7706_A6744

Kre-O D&D Crossbow A7705_A6744

At $13, the Lightning Cannon building set will include a spring-fired cannon, two cannon darts, two Kreons, and three challenge cards.

Kre-O D&D Lightning Cannon A6737

In the $17 Outpost building set will be a constructable castle wall with “reactive targets”, a ball-shooter, three Kreon figures, and three challenge cards.

Kre-O D&D Battle Outpost A6740

The Fortress Tower building set ($20) will include a “collapsing tower destruction feature” that “provides dramatic destruction with minimal rebuild time”, as well as a catapult, four Kreons, and five challenge cards.

Kre-O D&D Fortress Tower A6742

And for $25, the Fortress Defense building set will feature a gatehouse with drawbridge and breakout windows, a spring-fired catapult, six Kreon figures, and seven challenge cards.

Kre-O D&D Fortress Defense A6739

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Hasbro logoAt its investor day event this week in Providence, Hasbro updated the latest news on its games business.

Production begins next week on the Ouija movie.

The company announced a deal with Disney:

[We’re] expanding our strategic relationship [w/Disney] to include global rights for gaming and other play experiences based on major Disney Properties including Disney Princess and Disney Junior. The Deal also includes rights to include Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head toys based on Disney Princess characters.

And regarding Dungeons & Dragons KRE-O, which launches in January, Brian Goldner, Hasbro’s CEO, said:

We’re delivering all new building and battling play experiences that combine fast module building and performance weapons for battling. We’ve also developed a new series of animated shorts that will introduce today’s kids to the rich lore and heritage of Dungeons & Dragons and all the great characters in the Dungeons & Dragons brand.

Kreo D&D

In terms of general strategy for the games business, Hasbro is working off of six “gaming insights” derived from market research.

#1: Gaming continues to become more consumable. In line with this, Hasbro is launching this fall a number of new under-$15 products based on well-established brands.

#2: Girls like to game too. According to Hasbro 51 percent of digital gamers are girls but under 10 percent of the game aisle is targeted to girls. Thus, while known for its boys business, Hasbro is working to expand its demographic coverage, starting with Disney Princess games for girls in 2014.

#3: Adults prefer “friction-free” games. Hasbro’s research has found that adults think games take too long to learn, too much time to set up, and too long to play. For adults, then, the company will be releasing friction-free games including Draw Something Party, based on the mobile app, and Pointing Fingers, which allows players to point at their friends with giant foam fingers. A Funny or Die party game that has players matching captions with pictures is already in retail.

#4: The retail experience is important. Hasbro is supporting retailers with a gaming merchandising toolkit to help them make the game aisle easier to shop.

#5: Personalization engages. The recent Monopoly token replacement campaign in social media demonstrated the value of personalization in games. Monopoly revenue in the first half of 2013 was up 17 percent.

#6: Mobile integration is an important feature in the current market. And addressing mobile integration is Hasbro’s new Telepods line. Telepods is a series of physical games with components that can be recognized by a mobile app and added to a digital game. Physical products for Angry Birds Star Wars Telepods are currently available. The mobile app components launch September 19th.

Hasbro Game Segment 2013

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