Friday, July 31, 2009

A Realm of My Own

This past Christmas I was given by a very generous relative a Citadel Realm of Battle Gameboard. In the past for my playing area I've used all manner of surfaces and materials, but I have never been satisfied with the results and in particular with the compromises I felt forced to make in order to have something portable enough that it wouldn't completely consume my living or storage space. Hence my tables have always looked flat and plain. For years I looked with envy at the beautifully sculpted gaming tables featured in White Dwarf magazine, hoping for the day when I could have one like that as well. I am therefore very happy and grateful that GW has produced its own plastic modular gameboard as the Realm of Battle is both light weight and doesn't take up that much space, while still looking really good and being a functional gaming surface. The cost is no doubt prohibitive to many but for the value I think it is well worth its price. Considering how many gamers are able to collect multiple armies I do not think the current price is truly the outrage that has been portrayed in many online forums.

Now that I have my board I really want to start using it soon. But how do I want to paint it? Most of the gameboards I've used in the past have been fairly standard looking green-grass type of plains or steppes. Although it offers the convenience of being suitable for games of both Warhammer Fantasy and 40k, I'm a little tired of this style and am thus interested in trying out something of a different nature. Although using flock is great for blending the transition between the gameboard and any additional terrain pieces, it would also add a lot of extra time and work to the project as well, not to mention the added hassle cleaning up. I'm pretty sure then that it's time to leave behind the grassy farmlands for some new territory.

Thinking of it as being specifically for 40k opens up a myriad of options for the paint scheme, in fact a whole universe of options. A claustrophobic urban warzone or the spoiled Ash Wastes would be very thematic for 40k, or perhaps a blasted lunar surface or a menacing jungle Death World would offer a compelling environment for games. With each of these, as well as most of the others that I considered, I either didn’t like the color scheme or else it seemed like they would require more terrain than I want to put together or terrain that would be beyond my modeling skills. So with much consideration I am now leaning strongly towards painting my Realm of Battle as a Desert World.

It is for me very evocative backdrop with its wind swept hills and valleys, ghostly remains of human settlements, hazardous mining operations, and bizarre alien artifacts emerging from the sands. This obviously has a lot of appeal for me as it offers a strong setting for many types of science fiction narratives and would complement the look of many of the 40k armies in which I am interested. Getting this board painted would be fairly straight forward as I would mainly use a variety of browns and drybrushing, and thus I expect to be able to complete it fairly quickly. It would also look good with a wide variety of terrain pieces although I think GW's modular and game hills do not look good on it. But for 40k I think the hill sections sculpted onto the board itself should suffice as additional tall terrain is easily added with ruined buildings and the new Imperial Bastion kit. Possibly most important though is that I don’t think I’ll need too many more areas of terrain before I can start playing. I already have a number of Fantasy terrain pieces that I think can be made to fit into a futuristic setting and so I might start with just an extra couple of ruined buildings to better fix the setting.

And that’s how yet another project begins.

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