Dec 3, 2009

Warring in a Winter Wonderland - Part 1

This is a project that I have been putting off for some time now, but with the holidays fast approaching, and snow finally falling I decided that it was a good time to get this project underway.

So, what are we doing here? Making a new table of course. There are already the grass and hill board, and urban battlefield tiles that I made from before, but now I am constructing a set of ice and snow tiles that will be used for some upcoming games.

The game boards I create are designed to be placed over an already existing table, and in multiple configurations, like Games-Workshop's Realm of Battle game board (although far cheaper).

As always, my first step in creating the modular game board is to get a hold of a few key things:

  • MDF or particle board Tiles (mine are usually 2' by 2' or 2' by 4'), this type of board is resistant to warping; is strong, and light; and most importantly is reasonably durable. Not to mention it is inexpensive.
  • Industrial-Strength Velcro
  • Staple Gun
  • Polystyrene high density foam insulation
  • Foamcore
  • Knives
  • PVA Glue and/or Wood Glue
  • Mallet or Hammer
Optionally, you might want to have a few of these things as well:
  • Foam cutter
  • Plaster
  • PVC piping
  • Router
The first step is to glue down (because the backing on the Velcro is not strong enough alone) strips of Velcro to each tile. Here I have placed the strips down using the softer side (so that it won't scratch the table it is placed on) and secured them with glue. Next I drive a couple of staples through the strips and get them flush with a mallet. You will need to save the "hard" part so you can secure the tiles together later on. Be sure that you line up the strips across all tiles so that each one will be modular.

Once the strips are secure and the glue has dried, you can flip the tiles over and start making the surface of the table. Before you start this however, it is a good idea to draw out some plans for each of your tiles so you can work out how the edges will fit together. If you want to have the tiles go together in many different ways, you will need to do extra planning.

Here I am working on a 2' by 4' tile that is being used as a river. I used foamcore and polystyrene to build up the river banks, using the MDF as the actual riverbed. I used foamcore here because I can easily carve it with a knife to the shape I want. If you have a router, you can easily cut the channel into the board instead if your MDF is thick enough. There will be more details to this later on, but right now I'm building up the general shape.


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