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Riverboat Terrain

Kaane Feinwong

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Discussing with a friend the possibility of building a multi-tiered riverboat boat. Anyone happen to know of a good place to find blueprints of older steamboats, riverboats, and/or paddleboats?

Current concept would to be to include 3 tiers with the following general elements:

1.) Top deck:

- Central dining area, tables and chairs.

- Control room with steering wheel and whatnot.

- General deck obstructions like barrels and crates.

- Maybe a few defensive guns here and there (this is the dangerous world of Malifaux after all!)

2.) Middle deck:

- Centralized gambling hall with bar, tables, and chairs.

- Kitchen attached to the hall and with stairs leading up in to the dining area of the top deck.

- Passenger lodgings along the exterior, general assortments like beds and dressers and tables.

3.) Bottom deck:

- Engine room

- Cargo hold

- Crew lodgings, including perhaps the Captain's chambers.

Those are just very early ideas, but I'd like to see some actual blueprints to get a better feel of what a real layout might look like.

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Oooh, I like this idea in general. Could build the board with resin/water effects to make it look like a watery area. Could have a dock on one side with a gangplank to reach the boat. Maybe some ropes/ladders hanging off the sides for other entry points.

Would be pretty easy to make at least an exterior area, and one or two small interior rooms on top, with just a roof that is removable. Cool idea. May have to keep that one in a back pocket for future projects.

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Way over the price range I'll bet most want to pay, but an idea of what they look like at 1:48 scale, at least the exteriors.

Might want to look into making those deck plans into a playable 2d board with rules for moving between decks whether by stairs or by climbing up/down. Wouldn't be as slick looking as a built paddlewheeler with removable levels, but it would fit the bill while you considered building one.

In Swedish, but there's this old west floorplan:


Edited by Keltheos
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If/when I get around to building anything, the floors will be laid side by side rather than stacking in any way. Just for general usability. But I'm a gamer much more than a hobbyist, so I'm in it for an interesting change to gameplay, not for any realism or showmanship :)

Going on vacation next week, but after that maybe I'll do some 2D mock-ups to try out. If I make them digital I'll post them here so people can try it out. I'm also thinking of perhaps introducing a custom Encounter for the board too.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just a quick update: I haven't forgotten about this. I finished writing the first draft of custom Encounter rules for the multi-deck riverboat idea. I also sketched out concepts for 2 of the 3 planned floors.

I will try in the coming days to transfer that to a properly scaled paper prototype and try some games with the rules and board. Once I feel it's reasonably fun I'll try to create a digital blueprint for the board and custom markers and upload it for others to try.

Just a reminder though, for those that are looking to make some realistic terrain I'm mostly going for gameplay/mechanics. So I'm not sure how realistic my actual blueprints will be to a real riverboat.

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  • 3 weeks later...

So, I'm not sure if anyone is still interested in updates on this...but I'm going to provide one anyway.

I created 3x 2'x3' paper "blueprint" prototype decks of the planned 3-tier layout as well as necessary tokens for 3x variant Shared Strategies to be played on the board (here is a rough outline):

  1. A hostage-rescue scenario where a boarding attacking player must get to 5 hostage counters spread amongst the 3 decks and then get them safely back to their points-of-boarding to rescue them.
  2. A loot/raid scenario where a boarding attacking player must attempt to flip over 3 loot counters, some of which are false dummies and others are booby-trapped.
  3. A hi-jack scenario where a boarding attacking player must claim control of a key room on each of the 3 decks.

The first draft of the rules including terrain rules, strategy rules, random event rules, and special rules necessary to make the 3-tier deck concept work was also finished.

After all that, I tried to organize my friends to playtest a game or two. Unfortunately, being the dodgy scoundrels that they are, I was only able to get 1 of them to play and it was on a Sunday afternoon so our time was limited. We ended up playing a small Scrap, but since the board was designed to add a lot of extra gamespace to games a small SS crew just wouldn't give us a really good test of how a game would play out.

So we opted to truncate the rules for the first run through and limit it to just one deck. It would still allow us to test basic principles of the design, even if we couldn't try it out in all it's glory.

Everything went surprisingly well and we had a real blast. We noted some minor tweaks in design that could be enhanced, some fun (and not-too-cumbersome) additions to the custom terrain rules that could be added, and some minor flaws in the basic layout of the deck we played on.

All-in-all it was both fun and productive.

My plan at this point will be to revise the rules documentation to include the additions, as well as to reformat it a bit for ease-of-use; and then also to recreate my paper prototype in a digital format. My hope is, after that, I can upload it and make it available to the Malifaux forum community here to download, print-out, and play with it. Although making the actual terrain board will be fun, I'm a game designer at heart and would love to get feedback and share my concepts with everyone.

So, look for that in the coming couple of weeks (hopefully) if you're at all interested.

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This sounds like a great idea for a more scenario based event. Sounds like it might be a bit large and ungainly for a tournament style playing field. But for instance, when I used to play Star Wars Miniatures a lot, at GenCon there would also be your normal tournament events, but then people would also be running large scale events like the Battle of Hoth or Endor, or stuff like that.

So this sounds perfect for things like that. And event with 4-6 players, working in two teams or something. A longer 3-4 hour single game, rather than a quick 1 on 1 style scrap.

Sounds cool. Please share the layouts and rules when you feel they're finished. :top:

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