As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m displaying several of my fantasy terrain pieces at the local public library as part of their castle-themed summer reading program. Well, castles need keepers, so I have these guys.
These are not new paint jobs, in fact some represent my earliest attempts at painting. They are Bretonnian knights, squires, and archers from Warhammer Fantasy Battles. The unhorsed knights are now OOP, in fact the whole lot may be. I didn’t bother freshening up the paint jobs, just did the basing and they are ready to go.
I got them ages ago as part of my initial fling with Mordheim when the Town Cryer published rules for Bretonnian warbands. It didn’t take me long to realize that heavily armored characters with no missle weapons were point sinks, however.
My wargaming table is dark brown stained wood, so when I game on it, I like covering it to make it look less like a table. I’ve got a 4′ by 4′ piece of plywood, framed by 1″ lumber, that was textured with sand and glue and then painted green. It’s unwieldy and tends to shed sand all the time. I’ve really wanted a vinyl or rubber gaming mat that I can roll up and transport easily.
If you want a 4′ by 6′ vinyl battle mat for wargaming, it is going to set you back $50 at least.. But I’m a cheap guy, and when I saw this at Joann’s Fabrics, I knew I had a great Frugal Gaming alternative.
Cheap Vinyl Mat
It was in the “design fabrics.” It is a good, neutral color, has an irregular texture similar to burlap, and even has a heavy felt backing. There was only two yards left, perfect for a battle mat. The price was only $12.
Some people have asked about the scale of the Microtactix buildings. Here’s a pic with the buildings and the new mat.
Mat and cardstock buildings
It does seem to hold a fold wrinkle, but I hold that it’ll flatten itself out in time.
My second building from Vyllage-in-the-Cheep, the Rose and Crown Inn. I’ve noticed, in comparison to WWG, that the Microtactix stuff is, well, cheaper, not just in price in but in some details. The soffits (the edges on the underside of the roofs) are not detailed, for example. On the upside, there seems to be more character to the pieces. In Villageworks, the pieces are fairly uniform in order to allow some interchangeability. That is sacrificed in the name of making each building unique and flavorful in Microtactix.
The Rose and Crown Inn
I’m getting the hang of these cardstock buildings, learning how to mount roofs, etc. without ending up having to push on an side, etc.
Another cardstock terrain piece, from Vyllage-on-the-Cheep by Microtactix. I looked at the directions and discovered it was supposed to be a pawn shop. A good place for selling those art objects you find in dungeons. I was able to put it together in just a couple of hours while talking on the phone at the same time.
Cardstock steps? Not so much fun.
I finally got the finishing touches done on this little fellow. I have to say, he was a joy to paint–something I don’t say very often.
Night Goblin Shaman
Thank God. I mean really. After two abortive attempts at gaming, I finally got my 4E Sandbox campaign off and running.
The group hasn’t gotten exactly the hang of a sandbox, but the bait of having a vast treasure hidden somewhere in the region got them thinking about heading out an exploring. I do want them to “bulk up” a bit before heading out into the really scary stuff, so the players who came (five, three from my established group and two new ones) started a level one quest: “The Sunken Fort.” I may post the write up from it later, although it is mostly goblins, goblins, and more goblins.
How did the 4E mechanics shake out? Having the optimal gaming group size helped. It seems like the encounters were challenging without being overly punishing, and the group suffered it heaviest losses when their opponents began to exert superior battlefield control (e.g. if you’re going to clump together, you’re going to get sprayed by two fire beetles).
My only concern is that other players who haven’t made it may be free in two weeks, which may mean the group is jacked back up to an unreasonable size. I may also have a schedule conflict–I’m not sure yet.
But the important part? I went and played. With friends. In my own home. And had a great time, which regardless of edition is the whole point.
As a former librarian and general bibliophile, I’m always glad for a chance to support organizations like my local library. When they announced that they were doing a Castle/Knight theme for their summer reading program, I was very enthusiastic. In the children’s section they have a display case that shows various collections of one kind or another owned by members of the community. This summer they will be showing some of my own castle terrain.
The librarians asked if it would be possible for the kids to build their own Hirst Arts castles, but I reluctantly said that it would take too much prep time to get that many bricks, and that gluing the bricks together would take a long time. Instead, I suggested cardstock terrain. While it wouldn’t be “X-Acto knife” quality work, just cutting out by scissors and folding probably wouldn’t be too bad. A while back Microtactix had a free sample tower that could be colored in and assembled without too much effort, which I thought would be perfect for the library. I went ahead and put one together as an experiment. Here’s the result.
A cardstock tower
My only complaint is that the terrain is scaled pretty small, more “true 25mm” or even 20mm. I don’t mind it that much because I favor smaller terrain over larger, because you can get more on the table for a better effect. Not that the kids will care, mind you.