sunnuntai 27. syyskuuta 2015

Hexagonal Modular Gametable: Part 1: Preliminary Designs

One of the Eternal Projects of mine has been building a game table for to be used in the Ruins and Ratmen games. The table should be small enough to fit into our living room, small also for storage purposes, of modular design for an easy setup, and the modules should contain depth, since I've always thought that a table where you can build terrain only upward lacks something. So when my wife got fed up with a round table, about one meter in diameter, my brain switched gears.

First thing to do was to trim the edges of the table, so that a hexagon remained, each side having a length of 50 cm. So the gaming surface would consist of six triangular terrain blocks, with different surface definitions on either side of the block. As the gaming setup would be that of a ruined medieval-esque city, my initial idea was to have canal sections of different layout on one side, and flat surface on the other. That setup would allow for a lot of variation when setting up the table, and yet I would initially need to make just six blocks. The hexagonal design would also give the opportunity to set up three-way battles as easily as skirmishes of two sides.

The canals would be needed to set up so that the 'end' sections would be at the middle point of the triangle sides, so that when two sections would end up side by side, it would seem that the canal was continuous, and the spot where the sections meet would look like a small bridge crossing the canal. The end part of the canal should also be designed so that it would seem to just continue beneath the surface of the tile, in effect becoming a sewer. Thus it would not matter how the different blocks were assembled, the gaming board would look natural and uniform.

Initially, my intention was to build the triangular blocks from styrofoam or some similar material, but as I was doing mock-ups of the canal walls from HirstArts blocks, I realised that styrofoam by itself might not be robust enough for this purpose. Also, the thought of cutting straight lines and 60° angles to styrofoam suddenly begun to lose its appeal. And even if I were to manage to cut the pieces right, they would be quite fragile, even if one considers just the storaging of the tiles. So, even though I am by no means a carpenter, I decided to build the tiles from wooden strips of 2"x 1", with fibreboard as the 'surface' of the tiles. The biggest challenge would of course be in keeping the angles and therefore the whole tiles uniform in shape and size, in all dimensions. And in all honesty this means that the overall construction must have some tolerance to allow for some faults during the construction, since they're inevitable, especially since I don't have access to any woodworking shop but have to rely on my meager DIY tools.