Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An Odd Idea

 I was reading the classic "Little Wars" a few nights ago (something I do from time to time to get re-inspired), and an idea was rekindled in my head regarding how to make woods on the gaming surface. H.G. Wells had a set of large rectangles of wood planks that, when stacked, served as hills. Though it's not mentioned in the text (but outlined in some detail in his "Floor Games"), his approach to making woods involved having the hill boards drilled in a grid to take short branch cuttings from actual trees to make his wooded areas. You can just make out the grid of holes in the pictures in "Little Wars". I've always wanted to give that idea a try but never had the wherewithal to tackle it given that it seemed like a bit more than was necessary to produce woods. But the idea still hung around my thinking and finally ran into an opportunity to give it a try...now this is an odd idea for sure as it involves "damaging" a game I own...but I still thought it had good possibilities so I decided to give it a try.
A Reb unit assaults a wood defended by Union infantry and a battery of artillery. (The game board is a bit shiny and I was thinking a quick coat of matte spray might make the whole look of the game a bit more like a tabletop wargame rather than a boardgame.
Basically I took the idea of drilling the game surface to accept trees to one of my "Battle Cry" game boards to try a way of producing wooded hexes without having to use the flat tiles included in the game.

The result is kind of cool, but perhaps a bit "out there" if one wants ever to resell the game. And maybe just a bit too "fiddly"....I just drilled each hex vertices using a small bit (1/16") and sized to take the trunks of some nice little wire trees I got on sale at my local hobby shop. I forget the manufacturer of the trees but they are simple twisted wire trees with some clump foliage glued on. But when you stick them into the board surface it gives a fairly good alternative to the woods tiles. (I think this idea would work even better if you laid the gameboard on a piece of blue styrofoam insulation so the trees would hold better in the surface.

I'm still not completely sold on this idea. I just drilled a corner of one of the two Battle Cry boards I own just to experiment with it. I have to give it a few days to see if I really want to drill all of my boards this way. it just seemed to me that if I was painting the figures I should do a little more with the terrain. It kind of warps the boardgame idea...but the effect is pretty good.

I also want to do the full treatment of this idea for my 40mm homecast horse and musket stuff by doing up some layers of boards drilled to H.G. Wells specs. (...and not to mention the new Spencer Smith 42mm 'Little Britons" has got me on full alert... with calculator in hand trying to work out how to afford a classic set of "Little Wars" toys soldiers! (Many thanks to Ross for the link!)

Nothing like some experiments to get the gaming juices flowing!


tradgardmastare said...

Interesting post .I too often return to Little Wars for inspiration.
The 42mm figs are indeed most tempting!

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

An interesting idea ... the development of which I will follow with interest.

All the best,


Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

I do like the look of the trees stuck in the board. I tried it when I made geomorphic boards in the 80's and have occasionally used it on my styrofoam hills but the latter tend to wear as time goes by until the trees wobble terribly. I have thought about using it on my pine board hills.

Hard for a Little Wars enthusiast to pass up those Little Britains. If nought else I need some of the 4.7"ers.

RCA said...

great one!