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I'm finally going to get serious about a terrain set for my table and am starting this thread to get feedback on my ideas and work. I will slowly be updating this thread from concept to completion.
In thinking about a terrain set there are two ways to go. Modular and static. As you all know static boards have the advantage of looking better while modular boards stand the test of time and never get old to play on. I'm going to attempt to split the difference. I want a city-esque board that can hold a few pieces of terrain for standard matches, but also be able to contain enough to play city fight on it.
I have been working in Google Sketchup the past few days and this is what I have come up with:
The three buildings and the two small area terrain pieces are purely to give a feel of terrain on the board. In the finished table the buildings will be from the cities of death box sets. The canals will be cut from a single 4" piece of insulation foam and the two bridges will sit in and be modular, though the canals are designed with them in their configuration as seen above.
Each of the canals are six inches wide, with the walkways and the water itself being 2" each. The stairs are all 1" deep and at least 2" wide, with the larger stairs measuring 5" across. The usable area of the bridges are 7" wide.
Please let me know how playable you feel the board is as it is seen here. I have tried to make it well designed and balanced for long-side to long-side play as well as quarters missions.
Thank you for any feedback as I am hoping to get some before moving ahead with the project.
P.S. The Sketchup data file is relatively small if anyone is familiar with the program and wants to use it to explore the model. All dimensions are 1:1.
EDIT: I wanted to upload a blank version of the table and reiterate that the terrain on the street level will all be modular. The meat of the project is the building of the blank table as seen below. After I get the table to this point I will concentrate on the buildings and terrain that will occupy the top level.
Last edited by JohnPublic; March 18th, 2008 at 01:02.
Wow, careful you aren’t biting off more than you can chew –and boy are you biting off a lot. I know because I’ve been down this path. My table set up was originally just like this –kinda. A cool set up indeed, but definitely a BIG project.
Using 2” pink foam board from Home Depot (or similar) is the easy way to go, but you have to mount it on MDF and lining it up properly can be a pain. A table saw is your friend.
In my experience, the cooler a table looks (static) the less playable it is. I’ve seen tables you would DIE to play on… once. After a few games, you’ve got every angle figured out and you never go back to it. If you want to compromise, split the table into three sections; two flat and one river. That will give you lots of playable options. You may want to make a third flat section so you don’t HAVE to play with a river every time.
Tips I’ve learned along the way -Paint the roads on it so that the line up no matter how it’s set up. Then make the bridges and buildings modular so you can switch it up. If you’re serious about it, just get the boxed city set. Sand and paint the flat table sections black, then base the buildings on equal sized MDF with the building recessed 1” from the edge of the MDF. When you lay out the buildings is a city format, the black base becomes the roads between the buildings and the 1” around the buildings can be painted up as sidewalks. Gives you a great final look.
WD has some cool urban tables. There was one that had a sunken highway instead of a river. Very cool. The battle report is 2-3 years old and had the Guard fighting Typhus and his boys.
Hope this is all helpful. Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck!
This looks good. I feel it is playable, but needs some more higher terrain. The lower levels look great, but it could use some form of city "hill", some LOS blockers, etc. An equivalent to trees would be nice, as the current ruins are a little small.
Good sketch work.
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I think you have an excellent start, and i think like others have said, its important to make sure its customizable past the first setup. Making the board like you ahve it i think would work out fine, but make some moving terrain pieces so you can move the board and change the entire top of the board, while leaving the base alone. Maybe that was your idea all along.
looks good, and i like the program you used to make the picture.
It looks cool, but you'll get bored of it, unless you plan for enough pieces that can be moved around... and I think you could easily, with rubble piles or buildings or little bridges over the canals or whatever.
Also, I agree with whoever said it -- this is going to be a huge project, probably bigger than you realize. Even creating a relatively simple 8x4 grassy board with a couple hills and rocks and things is an enormous task (I know because I did it). Fun, though, so knock yourself out if you're up to it... the best piece of advice I can give is to not rush, and be as precise as you can be with everything, and think everything through five times before you do it while buildings. I made a lot of mistakes with my board just because I didn't plan how things were going to go together well enough... for instance, plexiglass resin melts through just about everything except for aluminum foil.
Which reminds me, seek out some good clear resin for the water -- I ended up with some slightly brown tinted stuff for mine (which is perfect, makes the water look brackish), but for this I think you'd want something more clear... make sure the area where you put the stuff is based with plaster or obsidian or some such indestructible material, lay down some darkly colored gravel and junky looking bits (judging from the theme/look of the board), and pour the resin in.
I'd also invest in GW's Cities of Death buildings if you weren't planning on it, just because they look cooler than anything else I've ever found or seen someone build.
Oh, another indispensable piece of scenery advice: DON'T TRY CUTTING FOAM WITH A SAW. This is just a bad idea. Maybe you already realize this, but in case you don't, spending $70 on a nice hot foam knife is A VERY GOOD IDEA.
This will be a very cool board if you put some effort into it -- I can't wait to see what you come up with.
Like I said, I've done a similar large-scale scenery project, and can share my experiences with you if you have any questions.
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"Using 2” pink foam board from Home Depot (or similar) is the easy way to go, but you have to mount it on MDF and lining it up properly can be a pain. A table saw is your friend."
As far as mounting the insulation sheet onto a surface goes, it will sit on my current table (shown above) that I constructed several years back. So I'm not really having to make an entire table, but rather just the surface. Also, I am hoping to find a sheet of 4" foam so that I am not dealing with multiple sheets that have to be aligned. I know it exists, but finding it in Texas seems to be the issue at the moment.
"You may want to make a third flat section so you don’t HAVE to play with a river every time."
I am going to place the insulation sheet on top of the existing table, but secure it in such a way that it will be removable. This will be a top that can come off to set up my other board surfaces.
"The lower levels look great, but it could use some form of city "hill", some LOS blockers, etc. An equivalent to trees would be nice, as the current ruins are a little small."
All the terrain shown on my model on the street level was just quickly made up to give a feel of the amount of terrain I am shooting for in a non CoD set-up. As I said in the original post, much more effort will eventually go into the street level than is shown here.
"I think you have an excellent start, and i think like others have said, its important to make sure its customizable past the first setup. Making the board like you ahve it i think would work out fine, but make some moving terrain pieces so you can move the board and change the entire top of the board, while leaving the base alone. Maybe that was your idea all along."
"looks good, and i like the program you used to make the picture."
Thanks. It's Google Sketchup and it's a free 3D modeling program from google. I highly recommend it for it's ease of use. I have worked with programs such as 3D Studio Max in the past and this is about one million times easier to use for simple projects.
"It looks cool, but you'll get bored of it, unless you plan for enough pieces that can be moved around... and I think you could easily, with rubble piles or buildings or little bridges over the canals or whatever."
Again, this is merely a terrain set that will sit on my existing board and will be removable to make way for other existing setups. I should have been more clear about that in the original post. Also, again, everything on the street level, including the bridges, will be modular.
"I'd also invest in GW's Cities of Death buildings if you weren't planning on it, just because they look cooler than anything else I've ever found or seen someone build."
I mentioned in the original post that the top would be outfitted with cities of death buildings. We own around $200 worth of CoD terrain and this is the board I'm really planning to showcase it on.
Thank you all for the comments thus far, but most of the concerns seem to be over issues that I addressed in the OP. At this point I am primarily concerned with the layout of the canals and their effects on the playability of the board.
Do you feel that the canals cover too much or too little area? Do they split the board up too much? Is there enough room for appropriate tank movement? Are there enough stairs leading up out of the bottom level? Those are the sorts of questions I am most seeking feedback for right now.
I quite like it, but I think it would be better as everyone said with the ability to split the table up if needed, I don't know about the canals in-game though as it would take quite a lot of walking to get anywhere down there...
These are exactly the kind of projects that I like to see on LO. They're challenging and well thought out. You've produced more than adequate designs, and your current working space and table look fine. I fully believe you're capable of putting this idea into real space. It's not an easy project, but after all, shouldn't terrain building present just as many challenges as the rest of the hobby?
Instead of 4" foam, have you considered using two sheets of plywood, and then cutting out the canal section from the top sheet? Then, you could use 2X4s to create the walls of the canal. Does this make senese? Just a thought.
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HI, would it be possible to get the file? I love to work in Skup and it's quite a lot easier to play around with ideas if the model is available too
If you fear the canal will limit the play, why not just build some bridges or something like it. Those can be put there when you feel like a change.
Anyhow, just keep up this project and please PM me the file or send it as an email if it's to big.
Thank you for your positivity Rabbit, it is much appreciated.
I am using foam to keep it as light as possible. I want to be able to move the set-up off the table for other terrain as well as to be able to use the table for other things. (My wife would be upset to lose our board game / puzzle table permanently.)
The file can be found here. I made a few minor revisions to it from the picture, but it is generally the same.
On the bridge front, I think I will wind up making four or five of them to add to the modularity. Good Suggestion.
I found my foam, though the best I could do is 2'x4' sections of the 4". I can make it work though. I also found a local plastic distributer that will sell me 4'x8' plasticard sheets for ultra cheap, so I will cover all faces of the foam with that. I should be able to pick up both materials tomorrow and I will update this weekend with any progress.