Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Whirling Blades Of Death!!!

Miss Anita Page, 1920's silent film star

(No, I don't know what silent film this still might have come from, and:
Yes, I am aware that this photo might be considered a form of shameless marketing;
However, this young lady is like most of the women I've met on Tekumel:
Light on the apparel, heavy on the attitude, and armed with big swords that they aren't afraid to use.)

*cough* Now that I have your attention... *cough* Thank you...

In amongst all the other myriad tasks that I'm struggling with (cleaning up the workshop, boxing old figures, sorting files, etc., etc., etc...) I have come up with a dilemma that I am hoping that all of you folks out there in Internet-land can help me with. And, yes, it does involve Whirling Blades of Death.

Back a few years ago, I was making some terrain for a game we Aethervoxes were putting on at The Source Comics and Games, here in the Twin Cities. The store has a huge sand table, which is normally covered with plywood; I made a set of 'terrain tiles' to fit this table, and we've run more then a few games on these. The issue at hand is set forth (or adumbrated, as Phil would have said:) in the following list of dimensions:

Table size at The Source: 63 1/2" by 137 1/2"

Standard folding table size here at the Workbench: 30" x 60"

Usual miniatures game table using these tables: 60" x 90" (Chanis, Ry, for example), 30" x 180 (the recent wedding, see previous post), or 60" x 60" (the "Pushing Lead On A Holiday Weekend" game, also see previous post)

Standard 'terrain tile' size to fit Source table: 23" x 40"

(N. B.: It takes nine tiles, plus an 18" x 23" 'filler' tile to cover the table at The Source; I shall leave figuring out how this actually works as an exercise for the reader. Might offer a prize, too.)

My problem is that 23 inches doesn't go very well into the dimensions of our standard tables. I can deal with the 40" length, but I am wondering if I should cut down all of the 'terrain tiles' to 20 inches instead of their present 23 inches. And yes, I know that I'll need to make a 20" x 20" filler for the 60" x 60" tables, and so on. But then, I got to thinking, which is always a dangerous thing.

So, here's the burning question: Should I simply cut all of the 'tiles' into one uniform size that will fit all possible tables, or just panic?

(A secondary consideration is storage and transport; the current tiles are, frankly, a pain in the posterior to store, transport, and set up because they are so large; about the only positive thing is that their weight is very low, as they are made of 1/8" MDF or Masonite with 1/2" expanded styrene glued on top. I also want to make some new 'river' and 'shoreline' tiles, as I happen to have three 24" x 48" panels of the same material that have blue vinyl laminated to them.)

Given the size of the current panels, and the width of the blades (the Whirling Blades of Death I promised you) I have on my table saw, the 'universal' tiles can be between nine inches and nine and a half inches. (I could also cut these on the little band saw I have, for a much thinner cut, but it's a much more interesting operation to do it what way...) My gut feeling is that I'd get a lot more use out of this size square tile then I would anything else, and we'd still be able to use these on the huge table at The Source. It would also be easier to build transport carts for the smaller size, too.

Here's where you all come in: let me know what you think about the notion of 9-ish by 9-ish (an old school war gaming tradition, as terrain used to be made on 9 x 9 floor tiles) terrain sections. I'm assuming that I'll have to make modular road sections, like I want to make the rivers and shores, but I have plenty of extra Masonite and expanded foam...

Comments? Ideas? Thoughts?


7 comments:

  1. How did they end up with a dimension of 23"? That just seems completely loopy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Source table is 63" wide; one 23" x 40" tile oriented 'east-west' and one 23" x 40" tile oriented 'north-south' equal this width. Six tiles, oriented 'east-west' make up the 137" length; there's an half-inch overlap at each of the long ends, but was never a problem.

      No idea why the guys made the table to those dimensions, either!

      Delete
  2. Love the pic BTW! From Phil's collection?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, sorry, from mine. I collect these sorts of things as part of my job as Archivist, as these 'period' items are the kind of thing that Phil used to describe as being what he looked at as a kid and which had an influence on his vision of Tekumel. From what he told me, his mom tossed out a lot of his stuff when he went to college, and his movie cards and photos were one of the things that went.

      You can still see a lot of what Phil mentioned to me, though; De Mille's epic potboiler "Sign of the Cross" (1932), as well as both silent and talkie versions of "Thief of Baghdad" (1924) and (1940) are available in DVD.

      I'd better do a film list, eh?

      Delete
  3. Take a look at this webistie: http://www.back2base-ix.com/ , they have a product called Battle Frame 5000. One of the frame sizes is 300mm x 300mm x 33mm, I was thinking of getting these as a 4' x 6' layout would store in a single stack of roughly 1' x 1' x 3'. A 8' x 6' layout stors in a 1' x 2' x 3' space. So going with 9" x 9" tiles would be good.

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's going to be the way to go. The smaller size is more flexible in use as well as easier to store and transport. Love the link, too!

      Delete
  4. That's an interesting photograph, but it's not Anita Page! It's some other girl in a bad wig. The big eyes made up in that manner were common and sometimes one looked like another, but this girl's nose is completely difference from Anita's.

    ReplyDelete