Friday, November 30, 2012

The White Council: Putting It All Together

So in the last two posts, we've looked at the wizards in my proposed White Council list and the Elven heroes to protect these wizards. In this post, I'd like to show a few army builds for the White Council, which is one of the armies you field to play with instead of to win with (because it's really, REALLY hard to win with these guys).
Army #1: Magic and Melee Emphasis

The Leaders of the Free People: 600 points

Gandalf the Grey - 170 points
Radagast the Brown (or Saruman the White) - 150 points
Glorfindel, Lord of the West with Armor of Gondolin - 140 points
Celeborn with Elven blade and shield - 140 points

4 units, no bows (but plenty of magic), 4 heroes


This is the army I've run recently. It specializes against enemy heroes with its magic and will rely on Glorfindel and Celeborn chomping through warriors (along with a Sorcerous Blast or two if you use Saruman the White). It's a risky list, but holds a lot of potential for damage against your foes. Getting trapped is a real threat to this force and you MUST make sure that you get Terrifying Aura cast on your wizards quickly. Heroic Combats are very useful in the hands of Glorfindel and Celeborn and can help even the odds.

Army #2: Archery and Melee Emphasis

The Elven Alliance: 600 points

Celeborn with Elven blade, heavy armor and shield - 150 points
Glorfindel, Lord of the West with Armor of Gondolin - 140 points

Galadriel, Lady of the Galadhrim - 125 points
Legolas with armor - 95 points
Thranduil - 90 points

5 units, 2 Elf bows, 5 heroes


Archery isn't the strong point of the White Council, but the archers they do have are excellent: Legolas and Thranduil are both keen archers who can whittle down your foe before they engage you in combat. When they do arrive, your three melee heroes will be waiting for them: all three have 3 Attacks and at least Fight 6, which should make it difficult to beat them with warriors. Celeborn is your only real spell-caster (Thranduil's Circlet of Kings is at your disposal), but don't forget that Galadriel can cast Blinding Light, protecting your archers from archery in return. Celeborn is also fully decked and brings a second D7 hero to your army.

Army #3: High-Unit Count Emphasis

The Agents of the Wise: 600 points

Glorfindel, Lord of the West with Armor of Gondolin - 140 points
Galadriel, Lady of the Galadhrim - 125 points
Legolas with armor and Elven cloak - 95 points
Thranduil - 90 points
Erestor - 80 points
Arwen Evenstar - 60 points

6 units, 2 Elf bows + 1 throwing dagger, 6 heroes


I tried to get more units into this list, but even at 600 points, you can't get more than 6 units in your army. Thranduil and Arwen can cast Nature's Wrath, but you won't get too many of these in a game. Erestor and Legolas (along with Thranduil) lend some archery prowess to your army, but aren't exceptional fighters (2 Attacks at Fight 6 is fine, but not reliable). Galadriel and Glorfindel will need to be your go-to people in melee and be very careful about fighting with Arwen, as her 2 Wounds with Defense 3 is a real weakness.

Army #4: Melee and Resilience Emphasis

The Might of the Council: 600 points

Elrond - 170 points
Celeborn with Elven bladeheavy armor, and shield - 150 points
Glorfindel, Lord of the West with Armor of Gondolin - 140 points
Erestor - 80 points
Arwen Evenstar - 60 points

5 units, no bows (but plenty of magic), 5 heroes


With high Defense as the aim, I'm sad that I include Arwen in this list. But, to protect her is four D7 heroes, all with 3 Fate points and most with 3 Wounds (Erestor has 2). Wounding this team (Arwen excepted) is going to be hard, but remember that this is the only list I've provided that doesn't have the Blinding Light spell. As such, you need to get into combat quickly and get out of archery targets as quickly as possible. You will have one hero with Immobilize (Celeborn) and two with Nature's Wrath (Elrond and Arwen), so you could get some serious mileage out of those.

Again, these armies are fun to play with but very hard to win with. I have found in my most recent Fellowship games (and even the White Council game I played recently) that these armies with all-heroes are really cool to play with but are disadvantaged against most armies. Mistakes are not forgiving and you need to utilize terrain, because without tact, you could be overwhelmed quite quickly. In the next post (to close out White Council month), I'm going to talk about the most likely integration of the White Council into your collection: as a small allied contingent to improve the fighting prowess or provide magical dominance to an ordinary army, so watch this space!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

To the Death: White Council vs. Dunedain

So, as those who follow the blog know, TMAT has its first concurrent monthly focus - Glenstorm has been showcasing his Grey Company army and I have been talking tactics for the White Council. So...since Glenstorm and I haven't had a game together in a while, we decided to do something a bit out of the ordinary and break a few norms. Today's battle report will test those armies that are being discussed (and also help Glenstorm test out a unit he has coming in the mail). Not only will this be the inaugural battle for my new Glorfindel model, but Glenstorm sees if Malbeth the Seer is really all he's cracked up to be. Here are the forces:
 The Council of the Wise: 600 points

Gandalf the Grey - 170 points
Radagast the Brown - 150 points
Glorfindel with Armor of Gondolin - 140 points (Army Leader)
Celeborn with Elven blade and shield - 140 points

4 units, 0 bows, 4 heroes

Dunedain: 600 points

Halbarad with Banner of the Evenstar - 125 points (Army Leader)
Malbeth the Seer (stand-in: King's Huntsman) - 80 points
Elladan and Elrohir with Elf bows and heavy armor - 160 points
2 Rangers of the North (Torchirion and Culang) - 50 points
2 Dunedain with spears - 50 points
9 Rangers of Arnor (including Dannassel) - 72 points
7 Rangers of Arnor with spears - 63 points

24 units, 21 bows + 2 Elf bows, 8 heroes
Today's scenario will be a To the Death game on a 48" x 48" board. The armies will fight until one is reduced to 25% of its starting size (1 unit for the White Council and 6 units for the Grey Company) and at the end of that round, the game will end and points will be tallied. Each player rolls for his warbands (one warband, in the case of the White Council) and deploys them either between 12" and 18" from his board edge (on the roll of a 1-3) or between 0" and 18" from his board edge (on the roll of a 4-6). Points are scored as follows:
  • 3 points if the enemy army is broken OR 5 points if the enemy army is broken and your army is unbroken.
  • 1 point if you have a banner unit survive until the end of the game OR 2 points if you have a banner survive to the end of the game and your opponent has no banners left.
  • 1 point if you kill the enemy army leader.
The map is set up as you see above: there are two woods (woodland terrain), a few Arnorian ruins, a marsh (difficult terrain), and a few mounds (hills with no movement rules attached). The Grey Company won the roll off and have chosen to select their board edge, and began deploying their warbands. My thought at the beginning of this game was as follows: first, I will take little to no damage from archery on my team. Second, I need to kill Malbeth the Seer to capitalize on the generally low defense of the army. Third, I need to kill Halbarad before the game ends. Fourth (as if the above tasks weren't enough), I need to stop the Twins from raking up my team. Yeah, this will be an up-hill fight...



Turn 1: A Light Shines (Priority - Grey Company)
On the first turn, I made a critical mistake. I forgot to have Radagast cast Terrifying Aura (gives him Terror on a 2+) - and didn't realize this until Turn 4. Instead, I used my free Will point to (for the fun of it) cast Aura of Dismay on my team. It failed. Gandalf, though, cast Blinding Light successfully (free W). In the Shoot phase, the Rangers shot through the Blinding Light and hit 8 times - YIKES - and thankfully dealt no wounds.


Turn 2: A Blast of Energy (P - White Council)
This turn, Radagast should have cast Terrifying Aura, but instead failed to cast Immobilize on a Dunedain ranger (Daerdan). Yes, I should have read my own post before this fight.
I thought about casting Terrifying Aura with Gandalf this turn, but instead opted for Sorcerous Blast against the front rank. The poor Rangers were blown over (free + 1/6W) and went flying. I successfully wounded two of them, but thanks to Malbeth the Seer (the Huntsman you see there), they both survived. In the subsequent Shoot phase, the Rangers hit 5 times and wounded Gandalf. I saved this on a Fate point, but to tell the truth, this was also an error - I should have taken the wound and healed him with Radagast the following turn. Oh well...this is how you learn, right?


Turn 3: The Armies Close (P - Grey Company)
The armies are closing in on each other and the magic flies. Radagast cast Immobilize on Elladan, who decided to take the magic attack in stride and sit out on the Shoot phase this time around (free W).
Gandalf let off another Sorcerous Blast this turn (free + 2/6W), targeting the Dunedain Astuil this time (who failed to resist the spell, 1/1W). He was blown a whopping 1" (I was hoping to knock over Malbeth and maybe the guy behind him). Neither were killed, but both were happily knocked down - and since the Grey Company moved first this round, they stayed down during the Shoot phase). The Grey Company, try as they might, only hit 3 times this round and again, dealt no wounds.


Turn 4: The Clash of Steel, a Critical Error (P - White Council)
MELEE! The White Council seized the initiative and surged forward, with Celeborn keeping the Dunedain Astuil down on the ground. Gandalf cast Sorcerous Blast again (free + 3/6W) on Elrohir, who successfully resisted it on a single dice (1/2W). Bleh. He then charged in to protect Celeborn's back and bring his Strength 5 sword into the fight. It was about now that I realized neither of my wizards had Terrifying Aura up. Big mistake. Radagast immobilized Halbarad (free W) and Halbarad failed to resist, which kept his banner bonus out of most of the fights (1/2W).
In the Fight phase, Glorfindel wounded both of the Rangers of Arnor he was fighting and both failed their Foresight saves. Good break. ("Can I just say that this bruiser-style hero scares me?  Especially when my boys are D4?") Culang went on to wound Radagast in his fight (1/1M), but this wound was saved by Fate (1/3F). Torchirion and Daerdan beat Gandalf in their fight, trapped him (which I could have avoided by paying a Might point in Radagast's fight and getting him to win), and was promptly wounded five times (passing both Fate point, but in the end losing three wounds, 3/3F, 3/3H). Ouch. Celeborn, thankfully, won his fight and wounded both Astuil on the ground and Malbeth the Seer - both of whom were saved by Foresight. (Regarding Malbeth, in a Flynn Ryder voice: "Oh, motha', I've got to get me one of THESE!!!")
Kill Count: White Council 2/24, Grey Company 1/4.



Turn 5: A Mess of Blades (P - White Council)
The fights continue, but my magic users get to go first. Celeborn casts Immobilize on Elrohir, who spends 2 Might points and a Will point to resist the spell (2/3M, 2/2W). With this twin out of Will points, Radagast talks to his bird friends, gets the Elf's location, and immobilizes him (1/3M, free W). One Elf not helpful this round...yaye.
In the Fight phase, Glorfindel won his fight (3/3M - ouch), wounded Elladan who failed his Foresight roll and spent a Fate point (1/3M, 1/2F). A Ranger of Arnor wounds Radagast, which is then saved by Fate (2/3F). Celeborn went on to kill Astuil on the ground after he failed his Foresight roll.
Kill Count: White Council 3/24, Grey Company 1/4.



Turn 6: Close Quarters Are Forced (P - White Council)
So, in the Move phase, Halbarad called a Heroic Move - and the thing about having this set of heroes at this moment, is I don't have Might points to spare to counter him. So, I am aptly surrounded, trapped, and ready to be throttled. Thankfully, Radagast and Glorfindel are back-to-back, so if Glorfindel can just win, we'll be fine.
In the Fight phase, Glorfindel LOST his fight, was trapped, but surprisingly was wounded twice (once by Elladan and once by the Ranger of the North), and both were saved by Fate (2/3F). Radagast actually won his fight (2/3M, Daerdan spends 1/1M), but fails to wound his foe. Celeborn won his fight (2/3M), wounds Malbeth once who fails his Foresight roll but passed his Fate save (1/1F).

Kill Count: White Council 3/24, Grey Company 1/4.



Turn 7: The Wise Fall (P - White Council)
So, with the White Council able to cast magic again, Celeborn targets Elrohir, but fails (2/3W). Radagast, though, talks to the birds again and immobilizes Elrohir (3/3M, free W - did you notice I don't actually spend Will points with this guy?). We are then promptly charged by...everybody.
These fights did not go well at all: Glorfindel lost again and was wounded by Elladan once and twice by the Ranger of the North. I then failed my Fate save and took 3 wounds and died (3/3F, 3/3H). I then realized that I should have taken wounds earlier with Glorfindel and cast Renew on him instead of immobilizing the Elf. Bummer. Lots of Rangers of Arnor and Daerdan killed Radagast this round as well, even though he passed his final Fate save (3/3F, 3/3H). As the game prepares to end, Celeborn wounds Halbarad twice, but he saves both those wounds with Foresight. Ouch.
Kill Count: White Council 3/24, Grey Company 3/4. With that the game ended, and the points were tallied:

  • The Grey Company scored 5 points for breaking my force without being broken, 2 points for having a banner at the end of the game (Halbarad), and 1 point for killing my army leader (Glorfindel). Total points: 8 points.
  • The White Council...didn't break the Grey Company (in fact, killed as many guys as they killed in my force)...didn't kill the army leader (Halbarad)...and didn't have a banner (also Halbarad). So...0 points. Major victory for the Grey Company.


Conclusion:

Assessment by Tiberius:

Most of the problems in this game can be credited to not playing well with Radagast the Brown. Casting Terrifying Aura early in the game may not have kept many units off my wizard (or off of Gandalf), and later winning a fight so that Gandalf wouldn't be trapped would have changed the number of units I had on my back to be sure. Whether the outcome of the game would have changed, I don't know. The Foresight saves also made Heroic Combats incredibly risky, so I couldn't capitalize on the melee capabilities of Celeborn or Glorfindel. All told, very tough match, but it's a fun list - especially when you're neutralizing enemy heroes.

Assessment by Glenstorm: 

As I mentioned in my last battle report, I rely on three things to win fights: wounds in the Shoot Phase, higher fight value, and pure luck.  Before the game, I predicted that the first two would not (and did not) work...at all....  Had Tiberius taken wounds instead of Fate Points and cast Renew with Radagast, this game would have likely ended differently, as it would have been very hard to deal all of the needed wounds in a single round to any of his heroes.  I won fights on low rolls by my opponent, and happened to wound on high rolls.  Definite props to free fate saves from Malbeth, but honestly there was little tactical advantage from my end in that match.

Stellar unit for the White Council: Celeborn with Elven blade and shield

Yes, I'm giving the credit to the only guy who stayed alive (and got the most points worth of killed units). Celeborn's dual role as tactical magic caster and powerful melee hero fills a unique niche in the army. I'm happy with how well he did and quite disappointed with the choices made for my wizards. Perhaps the most disappointing part of the game was that Glorfindel didn't win any fights automatically after the first round of combat (and won no fights when he had run out of Might points). With all this going on, Celeborn went on to win every single fight and force people to pass Foresight saves or Fate saves. Give me a few heroes like this, and I'll make a field-day of any force. I do need to put in a hearty "good work" to the Dunedain Daerdan, who participated in the deaths of both wizards (and who dealt the majority of the wounds against both of them).

Stellar unit for the Grey Company: Malbeth the Seer

I know that we try not to give this award to heroes, but 1) with an army that only has 1 unit that is not a hero, and 2) the fact that the man effectively stunted Gandalf's magic, saved me spearmen and warriors in critical fights, and was not afraid to get involved in combat himself, this guy deserves a lot of credit in this battle report.  I was thoroughly impressed with his work here, and am pleased to add him to the force.

Building Wargame Terrain



So my first post I mostly just showed you pictures of a modular terrain board that I built for my Angmorian army. I am back again now to go through, kinda step-by-step, the process which I used to create it. Unfortunately I did not take any 'in-the-works' pix while I was building my board or any of its separate terrain pieces (yeah, poor planning on my part, sorry), so I am going to build a smaller terrain model using the same exact technique I used on the board.
 

To start, you need a base.


What exactly you are building dictates what material you need to use for said base. In my experience, cardboard from a shipping box works well if you are going to completely cover it with your building material, like in the case of a hill or some similar structure.

If there is going to be a lot of open or flat areas where the base is still mostly visible (except for texture, like rubble or grass), you need use something a little firmer, like crafting plywood. Since this is more expensive (compared to the 'free' cardboard), I tend to use the wood sparingly and only in cases where warping is likely.



For example:
 
This uses a cardboard base and, because the base is completely covered by polystyrene, it doesn't warp.

Since this piece is not completely covered with polystyrene (it has a little, but too much of the surface is not braced with material), I needed to use a plywood base to keep it from warping.


Equally important to having a base, is having material to place on the base. My substance of choice is good, old fashioned, polystyrene packaging. It is very easy to shape into realistic looking mounds, hills, and 'stuff', is very cheap (free actually! You just have to go buy several hundred dollars worth of electronics), and it often comes in some very interesting shapes. 


If you happen to be like me and possess a rather large amount of this stuff then you're off to a good start! If not, you will have to buy some. A note on that: if you are going to buy building material, then I would recommend looking at some better quality polystyrene; some higher density stuff like what Tiberius is using for this and this. I will say right now... the stuff he is using is much better, less messy, and even easier to work with than the low density polystyrene I use. It is also more expensive. If you are going to be carving high detailed structures, like pillars, statues, etc then you do not want to use the low end stuff. If, however, you are just interested in making a few hills or rock piles, then my way is the way to go!

So lets get started!
I'm just going to build a stone, moundish thing for the sake of illustration. 

1). Start with a base (again, choose material by trying to predict the extent of which it may warp)

(make sure you weight it down)

2). Plop a chunk of styrofoam
on it (with glue on the bottom)



3). After the glue dries, go up another level
(if desired)
 As is probably becoming quite obvious to you: this does not look like much of a hill. Well, that's the  beauty of using this material! All you need to do is pile up a big mass of polystyrene, and voilĂ ! You've got a big mess! 

4). Now you just need to carve the piece into an intelligible shape. Surprisingly, just about as easily said as done






 When you are working with a bunch of random shapes and surfaces, as with styrofoam packaging, you are bound to run into some situations where this happens:




Smaller holes can be filled in with spackling, or covered up with texture but the larger ones? hmmm... We've got to get creative here.
To start, we need to look through our pile of shavings and try to find a piece that looks to be a bit larger than the hole we are intending to patch.    
Once a suitable volunteer is found, carve it out carefully and slowly to try to match the size of the hole. You don't want it too small or it won't help much. Too big? Just keep shaving until it's the right size.    
 Got a piece?
Plug 'er up!
Carve it down to match the rest of the side

We now have a model that is shaping up to be a good terrain piece. Once this stage has been reached, it is time to give it a little character. This phase is entirely up to you! (well... so is every other phase... but this is where you actually make it look like what you were going for) Don't like how circular, or square it is? Carve it out! Don't like how flat it is on top? Carve it out! Wanna put an entrance leading into the depths of the earth? Carve it out! (I think I feel a song coming on!)

I am just going to change up the top, as I don't like the super flatness about it but I still want there to be playing space up there. So this is what I did (again, let your own imagination take this places):  

Another one of the advantages to using lower density polystyrene is those annoying lines caused by the knife can just be rubbed away with you finger. You do need to suffer through the extremely loud, ear piercing squeaking that this will result in, though... Just warning ya.

Disclaimer: Neither Tavros, the Tell Me A Tale Great Or Small blog, or its founder Tiberius are responsible for any injuries to the ears or any other body part of any person or persons who follow the techniques displayed on this blog. All processes described here are to be attempted at the risk of the attemptee and have no legal connection to this publication whatsoever. Any person attempting to follow these techniques is henceforth doing so with full knowledge of the risks and is thereby taking fault should an accident occur while following this tutorial. Please ponder the fact that ear damage is extremely difficult and expensive to try to repair and that knives are sharp and knife wounds are not good. Always take care when using shining, pointy objects... That is all.
   

At this point, with the structure and shape complete, it's time for texturing. I like gluing tree bark or wood chips to some of the sides for this. It gives a nice stoney look to it. Also, coarse sand is a good way to go too. I would only say, don't only do this all over it. Break it up a bit with a rock jutting out or something. 


Placing glue on the underside of each wood chip, set them up on the side (or top or wherever) kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. Some times stuff will fit nicely, sometimes not. Don't worry about it too much.  
When the glue dries, double check all the wood chips to make sure they are all firmly attached. Spritz a little more glue on them if they aren't.

When ready, apply generous amounts of spackling to the gaps between the chips and between the chips and the mound.


When this has hardened and after a little bit of sanding, you can apply coarse sand to most (or all. or none) of the surface. I use a mix of white glue and water to apply stuff like sand and grass. I've found it works pretty well, is rather inexpensive, and can be mixed thinner or thicker, depending on how strong you need the glue to be. Once the sand is glued down, I apply another coating of the mix on top to further cement the sand in place.

After a little bit of paint, that's it! Painting rocks is just about the easiest thing you could be painting. All you need is white paint, black paint, and a separate container to mix in... Oh yeah... and a brush.
Apply a base coat of black or extremely dark grey and allow it to dry. 
Then, mix a little white into the container and paint that over the entire thing, leaving only the deepest crevices black. 
Keep mixing a lighter and lighter color while, at the same time, leaving more and more of the previous color visible in the deeper areas. 
Towards the end you should hardly be putting any paint on your brush and should only be applying paint to the outermost peaks of the textured surface. This technique is known as 'overbrushing'.

Here are a couple pics of some of the finished textures and paint jobs:



If you're going for a grassy look to it, then the painting is a lot easier. That is, unless you're trying to paint grass. But in most cases you will likely just buy some grass in a shaker or a grass mat or something and put it down when painting is done. Because the surface of the model can often still be seen through some of the thinner areas of grass, I recommend painting it dark green before laying down grass. But that may just be me. 

 This step-by-step processes can be used for small projects or they can be extrapolated into a whole game board, like I did. I am not saying that this is the only way to do it. I'm not even saying this is the right way to do it. But this is how I did it and it turned out pretty well, I think. 

I hope this was interesting and helpful.

     ~Tavros~


Friday, November 23, 2012

Give Me Life: Goblin Town, Part Three

So, while we're technically spending this month on the White Council, we're also going to continue work on the Dwarf Hold board. Here's a few things we've been doing:

1) Filling in the Gaps: Spackling on Terrain
Wall spackle is cheap and very useful for filling in small holes (like what I needed for my marketplaces, shown here). It can also be used for contouring, though it's nice that the polystyrene I'm working with is smooth to begin with (as opposed to the puffed stuff I've worked with before now). Wall spackle is also useful in texturing the terrain, giving it a raised and slightly uneven surface (very helpful here in filling in unwanted holes without being too smooth).

2) Adding Life: Bridges

So, the Dwarf hold that I'm building isn't a deserted den of Goblins (though they do appear from the depths) - it's a busy city, trying to establish trade with other cities and immortalizing their great founders in their stonework. As a result, shops, carts, bridges, and marketplaces are featured here.
Using a little paint and spackling, these bridges gain a little more life and realism. The bridges will be for the chasm on the map (seen below them), allowing 2-3 units to cross over them. I'm also working on a rope bridge from the left-over kebab shards from a party I recently went to that will allow 1-2 units to cross over as a third means of crossing.
3) Flooring: Tiles on Floors and Terraces
Here's a look at the terraces for the hold: each has 1" square tiles with 1/8" grout lines. The floor will have 2.5" squares with 1/8" grout lines between each tile, providing some texture to the floor. Takes a lot of time to get it ready, but really happy with how it's turned out so far.
I also took this knife blade to a few pieces of polystyrene to carve designs on four pillars which will be glued to the terraces. Each represents an element of Dwarf life: miner (still in the works), weapon-smith, armorer, and mason. These terraced portions will run up against the wall when it's being used, making them look more like they are part of the wall in the first place.
4) Looking Forward
So what's next? We're going to work on the pillars (and statute!) for the Dwarf hold, adding some specific life to it. I'm hoping that this goes over well, but thanks to the Swiss, I have a variety of small blades to get the job done. Oh, and you can see here my beginning work on Groblog, the Goblin King that was showcased in the recent Hunter's Red October tournament. Priming is underway, as you see, but the paint job is still to come - so watch this space!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dungeons Deep and Caverns Old

Greetings fellow gamers, hobby goers, and plain 'ol terrain enthusiasts.

My brothers'-in-arms (and vicious enemies) from TMAT invited me to write a post about the new terrain board I have just finished but before I do, let me give you a little bit of background.

I have been involved in GW's LOTR Battle Strategy Game for almost two years now and am in possession of a rather large Moria an Angmar alliance army (Angmoria) that some of you may have seen in the past on this blog. I will admit, that an army stalk full of greenskins was not the kind of army I would have envisioned myself playing as, but upon closer inspection of the lists (and a steal off ebay), I have been completely convinced of the solid force that an Angmar and Moria alliance can conjure up... In short: I love Angmoria.
The terrain board that I have constructed is themed, mainly, after the outskirts of the homeland of these squalling, green ticks.

In the planning phase, I knew that I didn't want the board to be strictly an 'underground' board as there are quite a few of those around. And I would've gotten bored making it. So I decided to go with something kind of half&half... Half the board would be 'under' the mountainside, the other, on the slopes outside with Roaring Pines and flowing grass and all that jazz.

There she is... ah...


 
As you can probably see... There's not a lot of 'slope' going on on this thing. But that's what your imagination is for. Just pretend that the rolling hills are... well... rolling. Hmmm... While your at it, why don't you just pretend I made a seriously awesome Barad-Dur that's six feet tall!.. And Osgiliath! Yeah! An Osgiliath map that's, like, the size of a ping pong table!... * Sigh *... Maybe next time...

-Back to reality-
The board dimensions are (approximately) 4' by 4'. It was constructed on two wood sections of 2' by 4' . I did it this way, instead of the usual four 2' by 2' sections that you'll see a lot of people do, mostly because I knew I wanted the mountain to cut right down the center of both halves. I just liked the concept.

As a result of the board only being in two pieces, you lose a lot of the ability to 'change up' the landscape. I worked around this dilemma by making (almost) all of the 'landscape' parts modeled, rather than molding them into the board itself.




   
This also give's me the ability to use as much or as little terrain as I feel like for whatever game I'm playing.
It doesn't stop there! If there's ever a time when we have several tables that need to be 'terrained' (such as a TMAT tournament, or a random 'game day'), there will, more than likely, be left-over pieces that can be used on other tables, thus increasing the diversity of this board with all of its separate modeled terrain.

Now might be a good time to point out that on the two woodland covered hills, I have installed tiny modelling magnets  in the bases of the hills to negate the need to glue the trees down.


This feature allows these trees to be removable, leaving just a bare hill (with holes, granted, but nobody's perfect). Nifty, huh?




So there you have it! A modular game board themed after Angmoria, the outermost lands of the Dark Lord's reach and... grass... with trees... 

Oh, and for those of you who don't already know: I love wargs too. So I made them a lair.

In closing, I want to say: I am not writing this post just to show off the cool thing I just made. Though that may be part of why, I am displaying this to anyone who is interested for the primary purpose of inspiring them to get their own imagination pumping with wild ideas for creative projects of their own. Something as specific as Edoras or Cair Andros (or their respective equivalents in any other table-top game) does not have to be what you're going for (though I would be the last person to discourage such an endeavor). You could just build a grassy plain for the Men of the West, or a desert land for Harad. There is no end to your options. You wanna be overwhelmed? Just think about that for a few more seconds. It took a lot of time, sure, but the feeling of completion is well worth the effort. (The feeling of playing on a board, that you labored on, just gets extra points)

To further show how you can make something that looks good, is rather inexpensive, and is easy to make, I am planning on writing a follow-up post on the basic techniques I used building this landscape and its add-on's. So as the the saying goes, "Stay tuned".

I am very interested in what anyone and everyone reading this thinks and I want to encourage you to post comments.

     ~Tavros~