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Western style terrain with a twist!


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Hi all.

Having just scratched the surface of Malifaux, I'm going to need some terrain that is more than just coke bottles and green felt.

I have some urban terrain that I made for Pulp City which could easily be made into base-terrain for a western style pioneer town.

I'm going to use paper-craft buildings on foamboard to make buildings, but then I had a stroke of genius (or possibly just a stroke, you be the judge!).

I got to thinking about the sometimes nightmarish atmosphere in the world of Malifaux, and thought about the setting where the combatants arrive in a strangely empty bordertown. The crews notice each other and as stand-off starts a cackle is heard, and suddenly the hapless fighters find out why the town was so strangely desolate! All the buildings take on the characteristics of the old buildings in spaghetti westerns, being only the facade, but everything behind the facade is empty! They're puppets on a mad stage with a demented master watching them fight it out on an insane set! With no escape until the puppeteer has had his fill, there is only one way to go, and not enough room for everyone to leave through it!

Basically, this would mean that buildings would only be the facade of the paper-craft building, with a small base behind them to let them stand. There'd be roads, boardwalks, a well, fences, praries-stuff and so forth, but the clunkyness is "justified" by the fact that it's just a stage! Also, it'd allow for more room the small-ish 3x3 board, while still being som pretty cool terrain (I think). I might even make some "card-board-cut-out" people, so that the heroes would have been lured into the town under pretenses of it being populated, but suddenly it's all a shakespearian trap!

What do you think? Could it work, or is the idea so far from the setting of Malifaux that there are grounds for getting me sectioned? :D

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I play Neverborn, so what is "freaky" for some tends more to "ho-hum normality" for me. The surreal is real, and this - for me at least - is the core appeal of the game.

I really like your concept, and would love to play on that sort of board. Using the two dimensional image of townsfolk as further cover is a sensational idea (you could have pinprick holes in some to indicate that they've been in similar scenes before).

I think that you're very much on the right track & that this board is going to evolve in to something special. Please keep us up to date with how it goes.

Malifaux: surreality on a dali basis!

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Heehee. I was definately thinking Blazing Saddles the whole time, especially when you mentioned the cardboard people (It's a fake! We've been suckered in!)

I do love this idea though, and you could easily get away from the one direction thing by shaping the layout of the buildings, so that it's like a fight around a corner block and what not. It would basically cut off a portion of the board, unless you really wanted to play up the freaky factor by actually having the guys fight on the backside of the facades. Heck, you could even let them take an Interact(2) to push it down ontop of your enemies on the other side!

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A very preliminary picture.

This is the Pulp City urban terrain I made yonks ago: PulpCityBoards004.jpg

The plan is to make the roads into gravel roads and the sidewalk into boardwalks (using popsicle sticks :) ). I've ripped off most of the grass, so those will be made into prairie with some tufts of grass.

The big flat grey areas will be made into generic prairie with some grass maybe.

The buildings will go on the big flat areas with facade facing the roads, with coaches and stuff on the roads. I'm figuring gallows or something and big bush-things or even cacti on the flatter areas, as well as fences.

It might direct the flow a little, but the small 1x1 boards are easy to vary from game to game. Also, they're real easy to make more of, and I'm contemplating making a few "real" buildings for when players don't want to be caught up in a crazy nightmare frontier town!

EDIT: I was actually thinking that players would be able to fight behind the facades as well! The facades won't be entirely flat; there has to be some struts to allow them to stand without falling, so there will be some corners to fight around.

I even think I'll cut doors in some of the buildings to make it easier to get behind the scenes (so to speak). If I get really into it, I might make a few balconies as well, to get some more height into play.

Great idea about toppling over the buildings!

Edited by Hjelmen
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Thanks for starting this thread, it got me thinking about flat terrain in general.

Model railroaders have long used "flats" to represent buildings that extend off the layout - why not do something similar for wargaming terrain? If you look at the average board, the terrain is usually clumped towards the middle, away from the edges... flats along the sides of the playing area would give the illusion that the area extends in that direction, and enhance the feeling of playing in the middle of a larger environment.

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I've made a single building now. Just a test, but I think it's come out quite well. I haven't gotten the table itself painted; that is highly a work in progress!

Pictures later today.

A consideration that a friend of mine has pointed out is the fact that you'd want to use a mix of buildings that would actually have been part of a functioning town! So instead of having several generic buildings, you'll want a Saloon, a blacksmith, a general store, and so on. I totally agree with him that it makes the terrain more believable, and thus I'll be buying a PDF-set of papercraft western-buildings that include both residential buildings, but also shops and recreational activites.

Does anyone have any suggestion for how I could make some flat cardboard-cut-out people? I can't seem to find pictures that are appropriate for it. Any ideas?

Also, I'll be making the special encounter location terrain for the Pioneer Town/Ghost Town setpiece. I'll make a Hanging Tree, a Graveyard, some Effigies, and a Dead Zone.

I'm really looking forward to get it under construction!


I actually think that using flatish buildings/terrain on the edges of a table might be a good idea if you're looking for a more "flash" table, i.e. showpiece, than just for gaming.

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Google images, then print onto card. Paste cardboard people on to balsa & cut around the image.

Base on balsa (cutting a groove in which to slip the cut-out), then use a small balsa stick (or a matchstick) attached to the back as a support.

Stain the balsa bits with an appropriate wood themed ink so as to retain its textures.

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