Saturday, 17 May 2014

The City Heights Project

The start of a new level
I have had the pleasure of seeing many great boards at the Hall of Heroes and other places which enable a board with varying levels. It is an added challenge to consider fighting up ramps, down from upper stories, across and along trenches.  However, this normally comes with boards that are fixed, having been custom built with the underlying terrain in place.
We wanted to have a multi level board which is flexible and transportable.  Living in the country, our demo game events will always be elsewhere, which means we have to transport our men and scenery in the car and our home is a busy place which means we have to store everything away.
Our solution?  Make a multi level board with sections.
Start with a large block of Polystyrene Foam.  100mm (4in) x 600mm (24 in) x 1200mm (48in) cost $47.85 each from Clarke Rubber.  Laid flat, this gives us an upper level of 4 inches high.  To strengthen and protect the sheets we painted them with a grey paint.
The next challenge was to make a way to get from the lower level to the higher levels.  This could be by stairs or a roadway or a bridge.  Also, we needed an edge to the upper level with a wall to fire over.
A basic 6in (15cm) section
I decided to make sections in 6 inch widths.  This mean for a 4ft wide table, we could mix and match a number of elements nicely.
Start with solid insulation foam (we obtained ours from Austech, although we picked it up in person).  25mm (1in) thick probably allows for the most options in building.  The edges of the foam are cut so they can be joined together when laying them as insulation.  This worked out to be the perfect wall height and thickness.
Using my less than precise modelling skills, I cut the foam so it levelled up with the 100mm white foam edges.  Then I cut a similar width piece for the ground level.
Stairs are for running up and down.
This was glued to a 6in square piece of MDF to provide durability and a standard size.  PVA glue is fine to put it all together.  Craft glue is great for creating moon or shell craters, but not much good at actually keeping two bits attached!
To create a simple stairway, I cut an appropriate sized bit of foam and hacked some stairs out.  At the top of each stair I glued some craft sticks.  Initially I was going to use the craft stick for the edge but it looked poor.  So I used Foam Core card and made an appropriate edge and railing.
In this stairwell, I thought it would be nifty having an opening under the stairs for a store room of sorts.  So I cut in the opening and stairs and added a spare door from one of our 4Ground buildings.
Then we got more creative.
Should I go Left or right?
A stair with two exits and a little seat. Options for chappies to get down with varying types of cover and a little style. Once more the same combination of insulation foam, foam core and craft sticks all stuck together with PVA.
I then painted the whole thing completely.  When painting scenery we just get sample pots from the paint or hardware store.  In Australia Haymes sample pots are great quality and good value: 500ml for about $8.55.  You can get them in any colour and they cover all sorts of material - wood, MDF, cardboard and foam.
Once painted, I went the lazy man route and applied printed stonework, the same way we did for the cobblestone roads.
Brick and stonework - looking fine.
Pasting on the brickwork covered up most of my hackwork and gave me a fine finish.  I used brick work for the walls, and stone work (as I used for the cobblestone pavements) for the ground and steps.  I also used the stones for the railings and wall capping. (We used the High Ground Tiles Kit from Dave Graffam models - only $3.95)
As you can see from the photos, the less than precise cutting of the foam meant there are some gaps between pieces.  But I am not overly concerned.  The end result is still quite satisfactory.
The next challenge was to provide a way for vehicles to move between levels.
One of the large white poly sheets we cut in two.  This meant 2 x 2ft squares.  On the edge of one we cut a slope one inch up (to match the edge of the insulation foam) and back 18 inches. This gave us a suitable slope.
The end of the road.
Warning!  Do this outside as you will get white foam dust everywhere!
I made sure that this was solid as I could still place this square upside down and have a normal edge too, allowing me to have a road or not depending on the board requirements.
The road edge was more insulation foam cut accordingly, painted and then brick and stone work added.
The only thing remaining is to make some walls bordering the ramp using thick cardboard and more brick and stone paper.
The end result looks pretty cool.
More corners to hide around
The road fits our cobblestone sections nicely and we have flexible levels.
I am sure if you adopted a more careful approach and cut each piece of foam accurately they would fit together much better.  However the concept works great with relatively little effort to get great results.
Lots of places to take cover.
4 foot of heightened goodness.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

The Players Essentials Tin

The Players Essentials Tin
Our aim when running a demo game is to streamline the game play as much as possible so that the players can learn the rules quickly and enjoy the game.  That explains our Index,  Turn Counters, Periscopes and Unit Cards.
The next challenge was how to streamline the game start with armies as well as storing all the dice.  Also, with our boards we were sometimes finding it difficult to find a place to roll dice without having to re-roll cocked dice.
So we created the Demo Gamers Players Essential Tin.
Around 25 April (ANZAC day) Australian supermarkets start selling special ANZAC biscuit tins.  Other than containing quite tasty ANZAC biscuits (cookies) it is also a nice sized tin with ANZAC themed war photos on the outside.
Mmmm. ANZAC biscuits.
We have made 8 player tins so far.  Each tin is for two players, containing two colours of dice and two sets of order dice and an order dice bag.  There are also two trays on which can fit a 600 point army each.

Dice Rolling Base:

We added in a couple of dividers to allow 3 x 13mm dice on either side, leaving a suitable area in the middle in which to roll dice.
Then my lovely wife - being a crafty lady - lined the insides with felt she had left over from other projects.  This made a great dice rolling surface, provided a place to store dice in the sides and somewhere to store the dice bag and order dice between games.
When doing something more than once - make a jig.

Army Trays:

The next stage was to create our army trays. The issue we have at the start of a game is somewhere to place the figures before the game and somewhere to place casualties during the fighting.  The figures would be stored properly in our foam protection between games, but in preparation we will collate each army and place them in an army tray. The players choose their armies and then can quickly start playing.
Each tray was designed to fit in the tin with enough space for fingers on each side.  The height of the trays and the base dividers were just right so we could still put on the lid.
Now just awaiting 16 armies!
This time my father in law - who is also a very talented engineer and handyman - helped create the boxes.  His rule is always "Measure twice and cut once" and "If you need to do something more than once, make a jig."  As we needed 16 trays for the 8 boxes, he made a marvellous jig on which to place the sides.  The box was made from 3mm MDF sheet, all cut exactly using another jig he rigged up.  Once the sides were glued using 5 minute epoxy, he then glued the base with PVA and set aside to dry.  Then we put on our little logo and painted the trays with Varnish to protect them.

Why go to this trouble?

We learn more each time we run a demo game.  The Players Essential Tins allow us to quickly gather the essential tools for playing the game and get down to playing.  Each tin has the dice and bag and the trays have the army and unit cards. With a Player Reference Sheet in hand and a rule book with index nearby, the game can start promptly and the fun can begin!

(PS When deciding on the name for the Players Essentials Tin, my wife thought of "The Beautiful Tin I Spent So Much Time Making" but I figured TBTISSMTM was a lousy acronym.)

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Announcing Demo Gamers Bolt Action Boot Camp

You! I want 20 push ups!
In conjunction with The Combat Company and War and Peace Games the Demo Gamers are proud to present our first Bolt Action Boot Camp.

Do you want to play the most cinematic and exciting World War II wargame on the planet? 

Of course you do.

Bolt Action from Warlord Games is a set of WWII wargaming rules that engages you from the very first turn until the always different final scene.

Do you want to learn how to play the game with great scenery, models and experienced players to guide you?

You know you do.

Come along to the Bolt Action Boot Camp run by the Demo Gamers at the Combat Company's Wonder Warehouse on Saturday 14 June.

Each time slot has an introduction to the fantastic game mechanics and then we play a game on a beautiful board with excellent painted figures.  You have seen the types of boards and figures elsewhere on this site.  Have a look around.
10:00am to 1:00pm Game 1
2:00pm to 5:00pm Game 2

What is provided?
Everything you need to play for use on the day:

  • Fantastic scenery
  • Well painted models
  • Rules and playing aids such as index, unit cards, periscope, laser pointers, dice, 

tape measures.

What do you need?

  • Drinks and Lunch
  • A sense of fun and adventure.

What forces are used in the games?
2 people per side, with 600 points each, giving 1200 points per side.  Each pair of opponents shares a dice bag, so we have 2 dice bags in operation per game.  Each game lasts 6 or 7 turns with two objectives per table.
There will be a number of forces to choose from for each table for each side.

Want to join?
Get in touch with us at ozdemogamers -at- gmail -dot- com


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