Thursday, January 5, 2012

Modular Gaming Table: Part 3

Alright, I now have panels, a table to place them on and a border to make it look cool. But, I still need scenery. Creating the scenery and the panels actually go hand-in-hand. You cannot start creating a panel if you don't know what type of scenery you're going to put on it. That brings us to the following question: what type of scenery will the panels have?

I could just create 12 empty grass plain panels and rely solely on modular terrain pieces to add elements like hills, water sections, woods and buildings etc. It's certainly the most flexible option but it would be way too easy and besides it doesn't always look as good as static scenery elements would. On the other hand static scenery does limit the number of combinations one has with the panels. To get the best of both worlds I needed to figure out which static scenery elements I could use without restricting the number of combinations too much.

First you need to know what type of configurations there are. The picture below will demonstrate some (not all) of the main table configurations.

The table border can only be used around the rectangular configurations. To circumvent this problem you could use empty panels on the non-rectangular configurations. These panels could be used for dice rolling or to put stuff on. So the missing panels of the non-rectangular configurations could resemble a dice panel or no panel or frame at all. The later preventing the placement of a table border of course. Yeah I know a major issue.

After some fiddeling about with paper cut-outs representing the panels I decided on four different types of panels.

3 empty grass plains
3 grass plains with streight  river
2 grass plains with bended river
4 grass plains with hill in corner

I've worked out all the possible combinations I could make using the first 5 configuration types. I quickly discovered this to be a horrendous job. I painstakingly managed to complete the first 3 configurations types without losing my mind and in doing so creating a total of 976 possible combinations! Doing the other configurations it can easily go up to about 1500+ combinations. I've setup a page here where you can see all the combinations (not completely finished yet). The idea is to look up your config through this website. So for example, you would say "We're playing 3x3 x8:y14" which would result in this image:

Because the above config has a red border it means it can be mirrored and of course turned in a couple of different ways. The page mentioned above only works out the different types of panels and the combinations possible with them.

Having come this far I now need to work out the exact details of the panel types. For example how the river and hill panels will look like. Luckely for me I'm the owner of the board game called Carcassonne. This game is based on tiles which you play in order to create a landscape. I discovered I can use the designs of the river sections of this game for the river panels.

Cool looking river sections
This leaves me to work out the hill and grass plain panels which will probably be similar to those of the Citadel Realm of Battle Gameboard. Except without the steep slopes. The important aspect of the hills is that all four hill panels match at the corners. Like the picture below demonstrates:

All four hill corners connected to form one big hill
Of course one could also argument why not use the Citadel Realm of Battle Gameboard instead. With some slight modifications these could be used on the modular gaming table. There is of course an obvious pricing issue involved but apart from that I doubt it's longevity. There's a big change GW makes a slightly different version or discontinues the boards all together. I already experienced this with their Flock product. The whole point of having a modular table is the ability to expand it with new panels or replace panels over time. The more you make yourself the less reliant you are and besides it's a hell of lot cheaper and fun to do it yourself.

This concludes the prep-work. At the time of writing I'm still waiting on some materials to arrive. In upcomming blog posts I'll go in more detail on the actuall making of the panels and the materials used.


  1. Nice work on the table - considering taking the plunge myself for my upcoming Magnificent Sven project so I'll certainly be tuning in for reference.

    Nice work on the long distance games with Gaj by the way!

  2. Thanks, we're doing our best to get narrative gameplay back on the map.

    Magnificent Sven project? What're you up to exactly?


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