Previous Dwarven Forge posts have covered dungeons and caverns (though I still need to talk about the water cavern sets). This time I'm going to talk about the city part of the city builder sets: even so, there's still a bunch of sets to choose from. Before I get into those, lets go over the key pieces.
NOTE: Floors, wall posts, walls, and roofs come in two types: tudor and stone. The only difference between them is appearance: you can otherwise mix and match as you like.
Each floor tile is 4 x 4 spaces, though half a space on each side can be eaten up by a wall tile, giving a completely walled floor tile an area of 3 x 3 spaces. Floor tiles are either completely solid, have a 1 x 2 space slot for a staircase, or have a small 1 x 1 space opening for a trap door.
There's a hole in each corner, allowing you to insert a wall post. There are two types of walls posts: normal and double. Normal wall posts take up about a quarter of a space. They have a metal peg that you insert into a floor tile corner, and are used to hold wall tiles in place.
Double posts serve the same function, but take up a half-space. They have two pegs, and can be used to join two floor tiles together.
They look a bit nicer for interior walls, but personally we don't use them except maybe for the ground level, because it's easier to reveal rooms of a building if we can just lift individual floor tiles off. With the double-posts in place, you gotta lift every floor that's connected.
Wall tiles are just over 3 spaces wide, and about a half-space thick. There are several types: solid (with or without internal magnets), windows (center and off-center), and walls-with-doors. Stone walls can have arrow slits, and there's even a pricey LED-lighted wall add-on pack.
With all four wall posts and wall tiles in place, you can stack floor tiles on top in order to create a building with multiple floors.
They're magnetic on the top, so you can attach various magnetic pieces like chimneys and gables, and you can arrange them next to each other for a longer building.
The gable piece is also nice for making an L-shaped building.
With the basics covered, lets move on to the sets.
The hamlet set runs just under $200 and comes with 104 pieces. I know this sounds like a lot, but about a fifth of the set are things like a pair of ladders, chimneys, various window inserts (curtains, shutters, and bars), roof perches, a few grab-bag minis, etc.
You also only get two walls-with-a-door (one tudor and stone), which means you can really only make two buildings...or combine them together to make one big-ass building:
If you've got an extra $75 to burn, you can instead pick up a village set. It gives you an extra 53 pieces, among them another tudor wall-with-a-door, meaning you can make another tudor house (or, again, combine them to make an even larger building).
If you want to start simpler, a tudor or stone starter set only runs $55, and gives you enough to make a two-story house, though you'll have to use a floor tile for the roof. If you have a floor or roof tile to spare, plus another wall tile, you can squeeze a three story building out of it.
If you want the roof tile, the tudor and stone cottage sets have got you covered: there's just enough to build a bare-bones, single room house, and they're only $39 a pop.
Beyond these there are a wide variety of sets if you need/want more floors, corner posts, double posts, walls with LED "torches", magnetic walls with magnetic accessories (like mounted dragon heads, shelves, tapestries, and signs), doors, roofs, platforms, balconies, etc.
I'd recommend starting with the hamlet or village sets if you can swing it. A tudor or stone roof set comes with another pair of doors, which will let you spread out some floor tiles to get some extra houses (with roofs to boot). From there you can pick up cottage sets as needed.
Both the magnetic walls and accessories and tavern accessories sets are pretty rad, too. Even if you have no interest in the city sets, they can be used for dungeons. Same goes for the LED braziers.
We've added most of our stuff to Tabletop Library and Payhip.
A Sundered World is out (and also available in dead-tree format)! If you for some reason don't want the entire setting, you can just snag the races and classes.
The Beastmaster is also out, and we're working on a cleric and paladin class next. If there's anything you want/don't want to see in those classes, let us know!
By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).