I'm not saying I have the kind of cash for dropping on my RPG that Dwarven Forge is asking, but I'm wondering if anyone here has actually played a campaign using them, and how many kits you'd need to make a moderately complex dungeon - the stuff I see on their site seems to indicate that you'd probably only get one room or so out of a given kit.
I love my Dwarven Forge!
That said, you are correct. Buying only one set is basically a tease. You will spend way too much time breaking down each room to build the next one. If you are running D&D 4th, you want big spacious interesting areas to fight in most of the time and one set just won't work very well at all.
I recommend 3 sets to start:
This isn't so much an answer, as I've never even seen Dwarven Forge in person, but as someone else interested in 3d terrain I thought I would pass on this option I've been considering: http://www.castlemolds.com/ You buy the molds and can make the pieces out of plaster of paris or whatever you like. It basically replaces the money cost with a time cost, but it's kind of an appealing option.
Cheap Alternative #2 is to check out the papercraft products over at WorldWorksGames. They had an amazing display at GenCon and buying one simple dungeon set means you can get as much dungeon as you want limited only by paper, printer ink, and assembling time.
They've built up a pretty impressive catalog over the last couple of years, so you can really go crazy with it if the basic dungeon set works for you.
Dwarven Forge is pretty pricey & since u mentioned that being a hinderance to you I thought you could use another cheaper alternative.
This company has a kickstarter where you can get in and get a single level dungeon and lots of accessories for the rooms for a fair backing price. Legendary Realms Kickstarter. Shipping included (US) & backers receive it before its available to the public. Not to mention, Im sure the retail price will be more than the kickstart backing pledge!
BTW: I am in no way affiliated with this company nor do I benefit in anyway if anyone backs them...I'm just sharing the knowledge.
Note: Im typing from my phone so if text or link is slightly off please dont downvote, just give me a chance to fix it or feel free to help me out and edit if u can.
A new answer to give you EXACTLY what you want at a Price that is a lot more affordable than before.
Dwarven Forge now has a Kickstarter as well! This is your chance to get some of their products for the cheapest price you'll find!
This new Kickstarter has what they call "Game Tiles". These are modular pieces that are usable over and over again to keep making different rooms!
So, one of your questions was "How many kits would you need?" Well, technically you could make it with just 1 but it would be a LOT of relaying it. But with just 2 "kits" you could probably make due very well, and it's not too expensive for that. PLUS by buying 2 sets you qualify to receive ALL of their "Stretch Goals!" With the stretch goals thrown in there I don't know why anyone who was backing this project would get only 1 kit.
Note: Again, I am in no way affiliated with this company, or Kickstarter, nor do I benefit in anyway if anyone chooses to back them. I'm just sharing the knowledge of this great opportunity to get Dwarven Forge Dungeon Pieces on the cheap.