Inside Pulse 12

Tabletop Review: Dwarven Forge Cavern Tiles – Lava River Set

Dwarven Forge Cavern Tiles – Lava River Set
Publisher: Dwarven Forge
Cost: $35 Unpainted/$55 Painted
Release Date: November 2014
Get it Here:

Yesterday we looked at the Base Set and Stretch Goal packs for the Dwarven Forge Cavern Tiles. For the rest of the week we will look at several of the expansion sets you can get for this tile system. Today is the Lava River set. You can get these tiles unpainted for $35 but why would you? After all, unless you’re an expert painter (which I am NOT), there’s no real way to know what these tiles are. They would just look like normal cave tiles, so if you’re going to buy these, DEFINITELY go the pricier route and have them painted. You won’t regret it and the tiles will be far more useful (and prettier)


Here is the box showcasing what you get in this set. You get two diagonal flowing river pieces, two “L” curve river pieces, six pieces with a tiny curved pool of magma, twelve pieces where the magma flows parallel with some land, four pure magma tiles and two natural bridge formations.


Here is an example of something you can build with the Lava River tile pack. Notice that there aren’t enough pieces in the tile pack to truly make a uniform pool if you use all of them. That’s a bit disappointing and it drove my wife nuts who wants everything symmetrical. As I understand nature generally abhors symmetry, I’m a little less annoyed by it, but I would have preferred only two or three pure lava pieces instead of four and had those replace by something that could help the pieces look better overall. The tiles still look great and will be fun to play with in your RPGs or wargames, but the anal retentive/OCD amongst you will probably wish the selection of tiles had a better ratio.


Here is a set of the Base and Stretch Goal tiles mixed with the Laval River set. As you can see, the set lets you make one big lava oriented room for your dungeon. You could also intermix the pieces here and there throughout the dungeon if you want the entire location to be inside a volcano and have only the pieces with magma represent where there is seepage and thus damage if a character stands on it. The tiles work nicely together and you can mix and match to your heart’s content.


Here’s a size comparison photo for you. I’ve included a regiment of Games Workshop’s Space Marines from Warhammer 40K encountering a Balor from Reaper Miniature’s Bones line. It also shows you what a crappy painter I am compared to the professional that did the Lava River tile set.


One last shot from a different angle so you can get another comparison as well as a good look at how the miniatures sit/mix with the tiles themselves.

So I really enjoy the Lava River pack and the cost is much less than the Base set, but that’s because you also get less tiles. Of course, you can buy two packs of painted Lava River tiles for the same price as a painted Base set, so if you really want a magma oriented combat scene, that might be the best way to go. I do prefer the base set to the Lava River pack though, as it’s more versatile. Still, having this expansion lets you create a themed room or two that will fit in perfectly with your fire elementals, demons and other creatures that love warm places. Again, cost Vs. how much use you will actually get out of these tiles is the biggest factor in whether you should purchase a set of these or not. They look cool and are well made, but if you don’t do a lot of gaming or don’t have a diorama with miniatures you want to make, there’s not much reason in getting these. If you do wargame or play RPGs with minis a lot, this Lava River set makes a lot of sense to purchase.