The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=24708.
Western Castle Ruins depicts an extremely ruined castle, with essentially very little left of its former glory, and a dungeon dwelling underneath. It has a very generic style allowing you to use it virtually anywhere a castle would be fitting. As it is a completely ruined castle, you could even use it in modern or near-future settings as an unexplored set of ruins formerly buried under years of weathering or in a remote location that hardly sees travel. In other words, you can use it for much more than just fantasy.
Ruined castles can be excellent plot hooks given the immediate number of questions that arise. Who owned the castle? Was their a village nearby? Who lives there now? Is it haunted? What stories can these ruins tell? And more importantly, what can we find within its dungeon? This is definitely the style of battlemap that invokes numerous possible hooks for your adventure. You could even throw it down and let the PCs create this castle’s history.
Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
DramaScape does a great job of dividing up their battlemap sections from page to page. This helps to retain the understanding of what each page represents by not cutting the map in important locations (causing confusion when looking at on-screen and during assembly). As always, there is a square and hex grid for both the ruined castle and the dungeon. The only difficulty I had with “piecing” the battlemap together is figuring out exactly where the dungeon connects to the ruins above.
Visual Appeal: 10 out of 10
Western Castle Ruins utilizes from beautiful textures with no shortage of broken rocks and random overgrowth. The dungeon has an excellent unused feel to it showing that it too has aged since the castle once stood. Rounding off this battlemap is a good-looking grass texture that has the feel of being able to grow wildly for many years if not centuries.
Desire to Use: 9 out of 10
If you’re looking for a ruined castle with some underground secrets, this is a perfect match for what you’re looking for. The only thing that could be added to improve its usability is a way of connection other possible branches (or even caves) to the dungeon below ground. Not that this would be very difficult, but it may require a larger room that lacks as much detail. However, the ruined castle is still a perfect representation of what it’s trying to be and the dungeon is an excellent way of expanding the possibilities for what lurks within the ruins.
Overall: 9 out of 10
Western Castle Ruins is a great battlemap combining the ruined aspects above ground and the “what may be lurking in the dungeon” underground. The castle is completely ruined, so if you’re looking for more of a recently destroyed castle, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a ages-old castle that was destroyed and has weathered significantly, then this is a perfect choice.
[5 of 5 Stars!]