You’d Better Watch Out…

As regular visitors to the Buffet will know, I am rather fond of the macabre and this tends to reflected in my gaming, with supernatural aspects creeping in to most projects I get myself involved in.

In the lead-up to Christmas, I found my mind turning towards the darker legends associated with this feative period and a craving for… the Krampus.

For those of you unfamiliar with this seasonal figure, the Krampus is a counterpoint to the jolly gift-bringer that is Saint Nicholas, being a hairy horned being, with fangs and cloven hooves, who carries a birch switch with which to punish naughty children and a basket to carry off those who have been especially bad.

And this being has it’s own day, namely the 5th December – Krampusnacht – where the Krampus visits those who’ve been bad and gives them coal.

An ideal holiday horror for a Christmas-themed game, so where to find such a figure?

There are actually a few options, but I’m disregarding the one from Titan Forge, as it looks more like some kind of demonic jester and the one from ParagonStar, as it looks too demonic in my opinion, so I’ve only included those I think accurately represent this folkloric being.

My first option is that produced by Reaper Miniatures as part of their Chronoscope range;

This is available from their webstore for $7.49, which works out at about £6.81. They do another version, which is nicer, but that clocks in at $17.99, so is a little expensive as far as I’m concerned.

Next is that produced by Shortwars as part of their Twisted Christmas range;

Now, this one is a touch more expensive at £13.00, but does come with a choice of right arms, so you can choose between the traditional birch switch or a staff and does stand 55mm tall, so is a pretty substantial beast.

The final option and one I’ll be going for myself is from the new Blitzkringle range from Killer B Games;

Standing at approximately 45mm tall and coming with a separate basket to be mounted on his back, this figure is a very reasonable £6.00.

And if you want to swell the ranks of your mythical Christmas entities, you can also purchase the Ghost of Saint Nicholas at £3.50 and a pack of three figures representing Pere Fouettard, Knecht Ruprecht and Belsnickel for £10.00.

Having contacted Craig at Killer B Games directly, I do know he is planning on adding some additional folkloric figures from other Mythologies to the Blitzkringle range, although the Russian Ded Moroz or Granfather Frost probably won’t be quite as imposing as Jakub Rozalski’s version;

A Merry Christmas to all – and to all a good night!

Games Without Frontiers

Usually, in the blogging circle I frequent, we blame Roger. He’ll make a comment on either on his own blog or on yours, which will set your mind ticking, like a bomb, which usually results in some kind of unusual side project that you really had no intention of getting involved in.

However, no malice in intended, as usually these flights of fancy are things that we’d probably have done anyway – Roger is just the catalyst.

However, not this time… this time I blame Greg.

Greg has been contributing to the excellent and long-running blog The Game Cupboard, with a run-through of The Dragon Heist from TSR, but realised through solo play and illustrated with photos of his games.

Now, what struck me personally about these games is that Greg has a LOT of nice scenery and I was especially jealous of his dungeon walls, which I believe are from the now discontinued MageKnight Dungeons range.

As regular readers will know, I like modular gaming accessories and whilst I have enough HeroScape tiles to fill my table with a variety of outdoors terrain, I don’t have much in the way of interior terrain, so cannot create either labyrinthine dungeons or starship corridors.

I thought this had been solved when Archon Studios launched their Dungeons & Lasers kickstarter, as the sample I got sent and reviewed seemed to meet my needs.

The problem with Archon Studios is that whilst they seem to like running Kickstarters and sending out product to their backers (or if you host a YouTube channel, large amounts of FREE terrain), if you are a normal gamer who maybe just wants to buy things in instalments, you can’t.

The Dungeons & Lasers first edition product has been manufactured and released, but can you actually buy it from either Archon Studios website or elsewhere? Nope. Which is a shame, as it’s a good product.

If you like the idea of a modular plastic dungeon wall system and you live in the United States, there is another alternative – Dirt Cheap Dungeons. I only came across this product and website recently and was quite impressed by the versatility, range and price-point. My problem is that whilst the actual cost of the product is within my price bracket, shipping takes it OUT of my price bracket. Furthermore, I actually need Sci-fi walls, rather than dungeon walls.

So, looking at the UK based options, it seems the only real options I have are to buy a 3D printer and buy one of the available STL file packages or go with one of the various MDF corridor options.

Now, me being me, I rejected these options and went on to YouTube, to see if any of the hobby crafting channels had ideas I could steal.

What struck me about the majority of these tutorials was that whilst the end product looked good, most of them were 2D tiles AND not only took a lot of work and effort, but also required tools I don’t have.

As far as I’m concerned, anything I make should be simple, easy and require no specialist tools or materials. In other words, anybody could make it.

So, because I’m good to you all and also a fucking genius, I’m going to show you how to make simple, cheap modular tiles, which can be skinned to whatever genre you want.

Let us begin…

So, the majority of modular tiles are square, but as the walls run parallel to the edge of the tile, you need the various permutations of where the walls go – a wall on one edge, two edges to form a corner, two opposite each other to form a corridor or three adjacent to form an alcove. Then you have the same options as above, but with doors in. And a blank tile to create larger rooms.

However, if you rotate the tile 45°, you only need THREE different types of tile – a floor tile, a wall tile and a door tile.

So, first task was to decide how big each tile should be. I went with 2″ squares, which means the diagonal distance is 2 3/4″.

I then cut 9 of these squares from corrugated cardboard I had lying around, as Amazon do seem to deliver here every day at the moment…

I had decided that 4 of these initial 9 would be floor tiles, so 4 squares of cereal packet cardboard were cut out…

And these were glued on top,using a gluestick.

Next were the walls. The walls needed to be 2 3/4″ wide, 2″ tall and have triangular bases, to match half of each base tile they were being attached to.

These had their creases scored and were bent into shape and the interior of each wall glued together.

These were then attached to their bases.

The walls with doors were created next in exactly the same way, but with a doorway of an inch wide by 11/2 inches tall cut out.

And they were then glued into place.

Now, bearing in mind that these are rough and ready prototypes and I only created 9 tiles to test out whether this would work, these are the various permutations I could make with them, with the REAL 13th Doctor wandering these strange white corridors.

The idea is that you can ‘skin’ these blank walls however you wish. Add some textured wallpaper to represent brickwork and you have yourself a dungeon or sewer. Glue sand to the base and green scouring pads to the walls and it’s a hedge maze. Baking foil and conduits made from drinking straws and you have starship or industrial corridors.

These cheap and simple modular tiles are a blank canvas, only limited your imagination and what you actually need.

I will probably adapt the materials for the next batch, but the design is sound and took me a very short period of time to make.

Genius? I’d like to think so…