Games Workshop Witchfate Tor

The Games Workshop Witchfate Tor model painted and assembledUnfortunately I had not watched a dullspork’s videos on Witchfate Tor (2, 3, 4) before purchasing mine. (If you do decide you want a Witchfate Tor, be sure to watch dullspork’s assembly.). Nor did I watch dreamspiritwar’s unboxing or his painted version. And I ignored the horrible paint scheme on the box and all the weird bits attached to the Tor, the tower. I reasoned that these were accessories and I could go for a cleaner build and have some interesting bits to add to my bits box.

Curse you, Witchfate Tor, and your large enticing box! Opening it, you get the four floors in bags. Immediately it becomes clear: Games Workshop has thrown out the last decade of improvements in its plastic models and their incredible modularity and versatility. Instead my Witchfate Tor, except for its paintjob, will look pretty much like your Witchfate Tor, like dullspork’s Tor, and so on. The basic Games Workshop Watchtower has many more options and therefore many more uses.

Witchfate Tor’s model itself has so many piddling little details. There are hourglasses in the window, which begs the question: how does one paint an hourglass? I actually do need to know this, because I have potion bottles to paint. I ended up simply cutting the hourglasses out of the window arches though: problem solved! The larger door panels both have their own assemblage of skulls to the left of them, but these have candles dripping wax and they are lit. So there are little candle flames to paint. Do you treat every little shield as an actual shield and paint it? There are wall mountings for chains to pick out. I painted the rune stone in the wall the same colors as the surround stones, but it could be distinctive too.

Those are just the small details. Below are Witchfate Tor’s major design flaws after the video:

Doors in the Air

Want to build your Witchfate Tor with only doors on the ground floor with only one box? Good luck! Witchfate Tor has two iron grated archways that you will need to use. Who doesn’t love a balcony on a miniature building? It allows you to put a model on the outside and have it interact with other models. However my love of balconies comes to a crashing halt with Witchfate Tor. To my untrained eye I would never want to set foot on Witchfate’s unsupported open-air balconies. The comet design on its surface is not enough to entice me out. Call me craven. There is no snap-on cool feature with these balconies. Unless there’s an extremely ingenious way of attaching them, you must glue them if you want to use them.

Columns

Two story version of Witchfate Tor

The Stunty Witchfate Tor

The four “pillars” shown mounted on the outside are hollow. To conceal their hollow nature, you have to push them far back against the tower’s stony walls. You are still left with gaps on the sides of the columns then, as well as on the columns’ tops. If you add magnets to keep the columns from falling off during play, then the column juts out at an angle, creating an even bigger gap. To get rid of any gap at all, you would have to glue them in place. Where will you glue the columns?

GW plastic models can make excellent alternatives to the columns

Statues instead of columns.

A. To the stone base? Now you can’t replace them with anything cooler, the tower will be hard to remove, and they still have hollow backs.
B. To the side of the ground floor? Now you have committed to the look of the ground floor and adding floors on top of it may be a challenge. (This is the build that GW shows on the back of the box, but not explicitly in the directions.)
C. To both the ground and second floors? Now you have rendered the fully-textured ground floor moot, but hopefully have reduced the top and side gaps.

While I won’t be gluing them anytime soon, I think B would be your best bet. This is what dullspork has done. Take advantage of the gap with the second floor to slide your second floor on and off. It should not catch if you glue it correctly. But say goodbye to a little stunted Ground Floor-Top Floor tower, because the columns can’t fit with the top floor’s overhang.

Top Floor’s Hollow Spires

This is similar to the columns above. I am not sure what to call them, but the the top of the tower is ringed by 12 fingers or spires that reach up and create a menacing and strong look. In between each pair of fingers are two pointy spikes. On the backside though of each finger is its hollow form. Of course, being a three dimensional bit of terrain, there is no backside to Witchfate Tor; when you see the front of 4 fingers, you see the “backs” of 5 others. Why would stone be hollowed out? Of course, it would not. This is a moulding or sculpting design flaw. The really anal will want to fill these in. I have spent too much time on Witchfate Tor as it is right now to bother with that detail.

Basic Assembly

The four pieces that compose each level require strength to combine, as well as a lot of carving away with a hobby knife. Now, I will say that the end result, once painted, appears seemless. I can’t tell where the four pieces come together except by knowing the pieces involved. I think others have struggled with the basic assembly as well. The instructions from GW say “This tower can be assembled in a variety of ways. Below is just one example.” If I remember correctly the four parts to each level are not interchangeable with each other. I think you get 2 A’s and 2 B’s on each floor with them connecting in ABAB fashion. You can’t flip an A unless you want an upside down door or window frame.

The Good in Witchfate Tor

For all of its flaws, Witchfate Tor is undeniably a dominant and impressive centerpiece to add to your gaming table. It will likely be the tallest structure. Even though I don’t see the use of the interiors in WHFB (the game it was designed for!), I think some DMs and perhaps Mordheim players will actually battle through the various floors of it. The panels with the skulls under the archways are easy to paint and really evoke a certain mood. Likewise the top tower with its skulls under the lookout windows, as well as just the overall look of the top, is great. Sandwiched between these more simplistic powerful elements are the goofy two floors with all their odd accessories.

Conclusion

Taking a few steps back from working on Witchfate Tor, it would actually be a somewhat decent piece from an up and coming gaming company. It is sizable and relatively easy to paint. I expect much more of Games Workshop though and I suspect that many other gamers do as well. Though I see a number of Witchfate Tors assembled to create monstrous towers in the pages of White Dwarf, I don’t think it’s gone over well with GW fans.

Dark Age – The Game Itself

Dark Age is hands down my favorite miniature war gaming system. Most of it boils down to Dark Age’s rules, though there are parts of the concepts and the actual miniatures themselves that I find appealing as well. That said, I have not played a game of Dark Age Apocalypse yet.

Rules to Die For

Alternating Activations

Both Warhammer and Warhammer 40k feature turn-based combat. I move all of my units, my units enter the Magic Phase and/or Shooting Phase, until finally you, the opponent, might get to make some choices in the Assault phase. Some units change this. Yes, you “get” to make Armor Saves, assuming you are able to. Maybe you will test for Leadership during your opponents’ Shooting Phase. Likewise in Warmachine there are now a number of units that activate in your opponent’s activation, but you can still spend a whole lot of time during your opponent’s turn watching and waiting. In both companies’ systems, who goes first in each turn is also static. ABABABABABAB.

Against this backdrop games like Dark Age, Confrontation, Star Wars Minis, and AT-43 mix things up with you and your opponent alternating activations by units. Who is going to go first this round? In Dark Age, you roll Initiative (similar to Star Wars Miniature Battle). Low roll gets to decide WHICH unit on the board will activate. You can pick your own or your opponent’s. This adds another tactical element to play. After your opponent activates a unit, you activate a unit, until one of you runs out. Your unactivated forces can react with their Action Points as the battle unfolds.

Action Points

As equally important as Alternating Activations, each model is assigned a number of Action Points. How you use those AP is up to you. If all you want to do is move forward, spend all 3 or 4 AP to do so. Have a ranged weapon and no RF (Rate of Fire) number restricting your choice, fine, spend all your AP shooting away. Likewise with melee combat. This is done on a model by model basis as well. One member of your unit can spend 2 AP advancing and then Charge (more about Charging below) and spend his remaining AP fighting the enemy. The second member of your unit can spend his AP shooting at the enemy. The third can charge up and attack and so on. It is true a skirmish level game in this sense.

With Action Points there is none of this nonsense of your squad shooting at a nonexistant target blown away seconds ago or being forced to charge thin air.

Action Choices

The variety of actions you can perform in Dark Age with your figure’s Action Points advance the game considerably. You can Go Prone, dropping to the floor to protect yourself against ranged attacks and then slowly move forward. You can Climb up the sides of cliffs and builds. Want to make an Aimed shot with your malfunctioning hand cannon? Spend an AP and go for it.

Charges and Ganging Up

When you Charge you get a bonus AP. You might spend 2 AP getting a model near enough to charge. Your third AP you spend resolving the Charge with a +1 modifier to your Attack Skill and the Power of your Attack. THEN you get a whole bonus AP. If you wipe your opponent with the initial charge, feel free to Charge his unfortunate ally a couple of centimeters away! Then you get another bonus AP.

Ganging Up is a great way to take down hard targets. For most units in the game, for each ally engaged in melee, you get a +1 to both Attack Skill and +1 to Power, which is cumulative. If you have 3 allies in combat with an Ice Elemental and you charge, you have a +3/+3 from Ganging Up and a +1/+1 from Charging. Better hope that attack stops him cold. Unfortunately puns are not a way of life in Samaria. So with Ganging Up even the lowly Dragyri Slaves serve a purpose.

Attack Resolution

The last aspect of Dark Age’s rules that I like is how attacks get resolved. Model’s have an Attack Skill with whatever weapon or weapons they have. An AS of 10 is brilliant, but many have numbers closer to 5 or 6. You add any modifiers to your AS as well as your target’s DF (Defense). DF is a mixture of size and agility. While there are a few surprising DF’s in the game, models that look like ninjas and anorexic Uma Thurmans typically have DFs around 2. Big lumbering giants with names like Ice Elemental (8), Abomination (8), Warhead (6), and Raze (8) and support or caster types have high DFs. The result of all of your addition is the number you need to roll EQUAL OR LESS than on your d20 to hit them, with 1s being Critical Successes and 20s being Critical Failures and sometimes causing Malfunctions.

So you’ve hit your opponent. Now your opponent take the Power of your weapon, with any bonuses from Ganging Up or Charging or other abilities. He or she subtracts that from the target’s Armor and your opponent tries to roll lower under that target to make his Armor check. The actual game uses different terms for some of this, but it is a great way of representing certain things in the game. This roll also can have a Critical Success or a Critical Failure. Rolling 20 on your Armor means you take an additional point of damage with a 1 negating the attack entirely. Some abilities can change this, but that is the essence of Dark Age and attacks.

Fluff, Game and World Concept, Models

I am largely indifferent to the world of Samaria, where the action of Dark Age unfolds. There are some neat premises built into the world, but I would happily play Dark Age with a more advanced setting or a medieval one. It does cater to that small part of me that enjoys Mad Max (and even Waterworld) and other post-apocalyptic settings such as the world of Fallout.

On the other hand, I’m not at all indifferent about Brom’s artwork. The game is based on it. I first noticed Brom’s stuff back with Dark Sun and some Dragon Magazine covers. He is easily in my Top 5 fantasy artists. I love the skin tones on his figures, as well as his mixture of chunkiness with frailty. Anything Brom-derived is pretty awesome in the game. The rest of the artwork is hit or miss.

The artwork translates into the miniatures. Concepts designed by Brom usually result in great sculpts. Nathaniel and Orchid are both great models and I think someone else drew them. In its infancy the game was also comparatively cheap, just as Warmachine was. You could play a lot of small games for $40-50.

Dark Age Saint Mark Warband

I wrote this based off of Dark Age Genesis. I have not played Dark Age Apocalypse yet, so the modern version of Saint Mark and his warband may be very different. All miniatures painted by the incredible punkrabbit.

Saint Mark: Everyone Must Stand Alone

Forsaken Saint Mark without a Mask
My Dark Age faction of choice is Forsaken and my saint of choice is Saint Mark. No other faction leader touches me so deeply and in such a strong way. In fact, Saint Mark is putting on false modesty to be called a saint. His weapon has it right: God’s Light. My Saint Mark Warband won me the Players’ Appreciation Tournament at CONquest Vegas in 2008. Saint Mark has an incredibly deep range of 80cm with God’s Light and if anyone gets up in his face he has both his Cutter Arm and his Armor of 22 to save him. He also needs that Armor 22 for when God’s Light Malfunctions. I make sure to risk that second Mal of 16. To me, if Saint Mark is not taking two shots each round something is really wrong. Or the game is about to end.

I have both versions of the figure and prefer the masked version. Others in his force match him this way and it is just a better sculpt. His unmasked self looks a little inhuman and if you read his fluff, you know he’s very human.
The back of Saint Mark Without a Mask
And with a nickname of “Saint Coward”, how can Craven Games not love him? While his troops know that he surpasses Saint John, Saint Mary, and Saint Theresa in his holiness, his (defeated) opponents like to call him names after he has incinerated them with God’s Light from across the table.

His Blessed Lieutenants

Warwind aka Ninja aka CommanderThe Warwind miniature

After Saint Mark, the next commander figure I look for in any list is a Warwind. There’s a trend here: uber models with high point costs and 4 AP each. The Warwind has decent Armor 18 and the very low 2 Defense. That and Furious Charge; Never Panic; Never Fear; Tough as Nails. Saint Mark can’t say the same. Saint Mark might run away. Your Warwind is going to try to stick around with his 2 HP. The ranged weapon, Brimstone, has its uses, but I want that Furious Charge bonus and I want the two katana attacks from Weapon Group 1. Because the cape on the original Warwind is so crazy, I use the second sculpt.

Weaponsmith

The Weaponsmith model for Dark Age
Saint Mark’s fluff mentions Weaponsmiths several times. I’ve used Saint Mark without a Weaponsmith numerous times, so a Weaponsmith is not really essential. I view him as some icing on the cake. I would never take him if there were nothing to use Superior Maintenance on though. This ability which allows him to place counters on figures at the start of the game is very useful. Typically I place one on Saint Mark, one on another invidividual, and then one on the Weaponsmith as well. Yeah, he can use it because he uses God’s Wrath Rifle, the distant cousin of God’s Light. It’s only Power 6, but you get three shots with it per AP since it is RF -. Plus its Range is 40. The sculpt of the figure is alright, but ranks towards the bottom of Forsake sculpts. The cactus on his base comes from an Imex set, I believe.

Field Medic

I prefer my Field Medic to the Sister of Compassion but oftentimes end up taking both. They both have healing effects, but I would rather not Numb my troops and lower their abilities but instead tell them “Hang in there boys!” and “It’s just a flesh wound!” She is incredibly useful, has 2 HP and 4 AP. I try to keep her well positioned. Her scalpel weapon is a joke. Her other abilities are not.

Her figure’s face was too ovoid. It reminds me of Jocasta from Marvel Comics so I asked punkrabbit to give her a spiked face mask like Saint Mark’s and he did a wonderful job. The cactus is from an Imex set, if I remember correctly with green-stuffed base.

Sister of CompassionThe frontside of a Forsaken Sister of Compassion

This figure gets a lot of attention because of her thong-like leotard. She gets a lot of play from me because she is almost as useful as her more properly-clad cousin, the Field Medic. Her Needle Fist is actually a competent attack as she has AS 5 with it and its Power 6 with a Range of 30 and causes Numb.

Her base is Epicast, her look Lady Gaga.

Nathaniel & Orchid

Dark Age models and brother and sister Nathaniel and OrchidThis pair is pretty characterful. I almost always field them in larger games. AP 4 figures are always useful. I feel that they tend to get in combat a lot less than my Warwind, despite having Furious Charge and Superior Ganging Up. They have the same Defense of 2 of a Warwind. Nathaniel’s AS of 9 with his Claymore is damn useful. He tends to die first though, leaving his sister to amass more kills.

The Dark Age miniatures model OrchidI love Orchid’s sculpt, but they both are pretty dynamic and are rocking the spiked helmet look I so admire. I based them on 25mm bases so I could use them in games of 28mm Inquisitor or asInquisitorial henchmen in games of 40k. Their cloaks are painted the same sky blue as St. John’s, because they are also usable with his warband.

Bounty HuntressA female Bounty Hunter

I hate this figure. She looks so out of place in the junk and refuse filled world of Samaria. She doesn’t match the artwork and is pretty lame. However I think punkrabbit did a great job with her. As much as I don’t care for the model, I have used her in a number of games. Oftentimes she gets that third Superior Maintenance counter because her Ranged attack has an RN of 40 and she’s AS 7 with it with a RF of 2. With her 4 AP she gets 2 Aimed shots a turn with it. Now we’re cooking. Tracking is so so. Yes, it has an effect, but it never is game-changing for me.

DedlockThe dual pistol wielding Dedlock miniature

I may have used my Dedlock once. The figure is incredibly cool. She probably has been purchased by a lot of miniature fans who will never play Dark Age. The problem is that she has a high Points Value of 86 and for that you get a close up Banger-style weapon. Her ranged AS of 7 makes me want to take a second look about including her in my forces again. Spray and Pray however does not. I probably would be using Saint Mark and the Weaponsmith both with longer Ranges. She is mid-range and not incredible in hand to hand. Defense of 2 is, again, wonderful. If I knew my opponent was fielding Skarrd, I’d probably test her out again.

And His Righteous Troops

Banes

A Bane Leader miniatureHe may not have that special tender relationship that Saint John has with them, but Saint Mark (under my command) repeatedly makes use of his Banes. Banes have a respectable Armor 18 and are AS 6 with their Double Maces which get two attacks in Attack Group 1. They have no ranged combat, but the Maces which are only Power 4 cause KP(8). Their saving grace is probably that double attack. Once the whole unit starts attacking another unit, things are going down, and going down fast. This is probably true of many other factions’ main attack units, but with the exception of a few games as Dragyri, I haven’t played as other factions.

Strike

Two Dark Age Forsaken Strike models painted black
My Strike have seen almost as much play time as my Banes. They are ninjas, both in sculpt, and in stats. You pay for it too, at 75 points for the leader and 70 for the “basic” troop. These are essentially a unit of Forsaken characters with AP 4 Mv 4 and 2 HP. They also have that Warwind ninja 2 Defense. Where they really start to shine is up close with the enemy, which is where you want them with their Furious Charge. Facing lightly armored infantry? Go with the dual Spiked Gauntlets attacks. The PW is 2×2. If both attacks hit, which is at AS 6 for the basic Strike, your opponent is making 4 Armor saves. That’s them starting to shine. They flare up on your opponents’ big brutes with their other Attack Group: 2 Handed Sword. The leader has 9 AS with it! The trooper 8. Don’t forget Furious Charge bonuses or ganging up when it probably hits for its 6×2 PW. I count on the Strike to take out Dragyri elites, Ice Arbiters, Ice Elementals, Raze, Golabs, and other big meanies. They do not disappoint. With Armor 14, they also go down pretty quick, but I did introduce you to the Field Medic, yes?

These models are cool and I have them on 25mm bases to use as auxiillary Death Cult Assassins.

Firestorm

Given my preference for 4 AP models with 2+ HP, my Firestorm have seen very little use.Two Forsaken models That and they go KABOOM. I can see their usefulness if I was certain to face Brood (with Cauterize on their Flame Throwers), but I find them to be too much of a liability for my liking.

I think I asked punkrabbit to paint them as though wearing jumpsuits and I think the effect turned out pretty good.

Ravages

Two Ravages miniatures from Dark Age GamesI like how Ravages look like Banes, especially how punkrabbit painted mine. In games I have used them more than Firestorm, but only to test them out and as points filler and how expensive they are as points filler! For 82 or 77 points I can get something much better. Also I confess that I always get fuzzy about Indirect ranged attacks and that BL(4) and BL(2) are just so teeny tiny as to not be worth it in my book.

All the Rest

I have a Reaver. She’s so slight of build and prone to damage that she needs a real life Field Medic to look her over. I have a Shade that’s not seen any progress in years, despite loving the sculpt. The Junker has interesting stats, but I think she suffers from ease of extreme damage on the miniature.The Coils! Where are your Coils?! Yes, Saint Mark can Take Charge (Coils), but I don’t care for most of their sculpts. The concept behind them is cool enough, but the execution is not to my liking. This one that is painted is based on an Epicast base. I like how extremely forward I put it. Where is her coil weapon, the disc shooter? They are just oddly done.

For the Forsaken though and especially Saint Mark I am a completionist and will eventually get all of their models.

2008 Players Appreciation Tournament Winning List

Saint Mark
Warwind
Weaponsmith
Field Medic
Bane Leader with Banes (4)
Nathaniel & Orchid

The Easiest “Conversion” – 25mm Round Bases to 30mm Round Bases

This “conversion” is so easy that I really hesitate to call it a conversion. Dark Age, Hordes, Warmachine, and Malifaux among other games all use 30mm circular bases for their human-sized figures. My understanding is that Dark Age used these first and Privateer Press adopted them. Games Workshop uses its 25mm round bases for Warhammer 40k, Necromunda, and most of its sci-fi games no longer in print. These circular bases were also supplied for some of GW’s fantasy dungeon delving games.

Dark Age Games Field Medic on a 25mm base successfully stacked on a 30mm base.Guess what? You can mount a 25mm round base onto a 30mm round base and it doesnot look all that terrible. Now, you could just glue the 25mm base onto the 30mm base, but why restrict yourself to only using the attached miniature in only one game’s system? You could also just leave the 30mm base unattached and pick up both miniature and its dual bases for games that use the larger base. This can lead to the larger base being left behind and wasting precious seconds restacking your miniature.

My solution has been to add small neodymium magnets to the underside of the 25mm base and to the top of the 30mm base. You could probably get away with just one on each base, allowing for some pivoting of the figure, but by gluing or green stuffing two magnets on each base, you get a nice solid magnetic lock with no pivoting for minimal expense. The cost of the magnets should be a lot cheaper than the cost of buying a new model as well as painting it. I buy my magnets from K & J Magnetics.

Yes, your new double-based figure is now about 3mm taller! If this is a terrible shock to your sensibilities and you think this provides some odd advantage for Line of Site while not making the troop easier to spot itself, enjoy your shock, while I enjoy my miniature in multiple game systems. Also you might enjoy the fact that your 25mm or 28mm miniature now is closer to 30mm itself.

Terranscapes Martian Must Haves

What was life like before Terranscapes? Poor, nasty, and brutish, I think. I made do with my green modular board set and my feeble attempts at other boards. Then I found Terranscapes and experienced Martian joy. I am not exaggerating very much when I say that Terranscapes elevated my level of gaming in a big way.

If you’ve seen the Martian Boardsets and they appeal to you, here are my Martian Must Haves:
1. Martian Buttes Board 1
2. Martian Mesa
3. Martian Pond
4. Regular Board
5. Regular Board
6. Regular Board.

There are plenty of other great Terranscapes products and I do plan on writing about or videoing some of their features, but these are the essentials.

Martian Buttes Board

Besides the plain board the Buttes Board includes, you get three moveable pieces of terrain to block line of site and channel troop movements. If you play a true skirmish game like Dark Age, your models can even climb to the tops of the little buttes. You can also use these on other playing surfaces you might have like a green flocked board or the ever popular sand and static grass.

Martian Mesa Board

The Martian Mesa blocks Line of Site for most man-sized 28mm or 30mm troops, regardless of your system. It does this a bit better than the buttes because it is longer and wider, so your squad of 10 Space Marines can comfortably sit on an objective behind the mesa, quite cravenly if need be. The power of the Mesa Board is that your forces can also move on top of it to get a better vantage point for firing at the enemy. If you happen to be on top too, there should be a Difficult Terrain test to get up the sides to get you.

Martian Pond

It’s a water feature that does not need to connect to other water features, it looks damn good, and is recessed realistically into the ground. I think you need this because depending upon how your game handles water (and what you agree with your opponent) you can have some very different experiences depending upon where you place this and how you orient this on the board. Water has some awesome effects on warjacks in Warmachine and several jacks or units have advantages over others in water. Static gunline armies deployed behindthe pond are going to love it in Warhammer 40k.

If you had just a bit more money…

I would replace one of the plain boards with the Martian Buttes Board 2. This gets you 2 more buttes for a total of 5 buttes to move around the table as you and your opponent see fit and it would be only $32 more (as of writing this). You would now have plenty of terrain and could expand your Martian lineup in the future, but have a beautiful area to play with in the meantime.

What about all the rest of the Martian Lineup?

I think most people will recognize they don’t need a Martian Mine Opening to have a perfect battle. You can make or buy your own Rock Outcroppings pretty easily. I have a Martian Waterfall, Martian Swamp, and Martian craters, but they’re not essential. If you don’t have a river then you don’t need an endcap. If you have a limited budget and want the maximum value for your money, avoid the rivers initially. As I write this, the Terranscapes store is closed and set to reopen on October 1. If you only had two river sections at this time, you would be stuck with whatever configuration that would leave you with. Hopefully one of the pieces would be a bend. Once you start involving curves in the river, you also do need to do somethinking. Which kind of bend you have is going to dictate where the river is going to be placed. The Martian Pond is much more flexible and forgiving in its placement. The Martian Butte with Arch and the Martian Mesa are both impressive pieces, but you can probably make do without them for now. Likewise with the cacti stands or my modified Martian jungle stands.

Why six boards?

There is some interesting math in enlarging your Terranscapes collection. One board by itself is useless. Moving up, unless you intend to create a long and narrow playing field, the next usable number of boards are 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8. 5 boards won’t make a rectangular surface, neither will 7. With 6 Terranscapes boards you begin to have a decent number of configuration options. It will still be a smaller area (40″x30″)than almost any game I am familiar with uses, but you and your opponent can decide how to adjust for that. Obviously you would want to move up to 4’x4′ (the minimum standard for most wargames) as soon as possible.

To keep making rectangular table layouts with only the regular 20″ by 10″ boards, you would have to avoid prime numbers of boards greater than 3. 5, 7, 11, 13 board sets etc. would not work as rectangular layouts. I could be wrong about this.

Why not just buy a lot of plain boards?

I don’t know that this would be an actual question from anyone, but if you really just want a flat playing surface, then I would not buy Terranscapes boards sets. The awesomeness of the mesa and the pond lie in the fact that they are elevated and recessed respectively. I don’t care what your level of experience or ability is, if you want a flat textured playing surface that looks great, you can do it yourself pretty quickly for much much less than buying a bunch of plain modular boards.

Crystal Caste Farmhouse Buildings

At first glance, Crystal Caste is only a dice manufacturer. But as one of their brochures and thoroughly scouring their website reveals, they are out to help gamers with as many useful products as possible. The prepainted Farmhouse Buildings fit that bill incredibly well. All of the series are felt-lined on the bottom to protect your playing surface, have brownish orange tiled roofs, and come in specially contoured styrofoam packaging. They are made in China. The Barn and Stable are also asymmetrical with separate little side areas jutting off and out, which adds visual interest.

Easily the most useful (and greatest value) piece is the Cottage. It has an opening front door and a backdoor. It is 5.5 inches wide by 3.25 inches deep. It is roughly 6.5 inches tall including the removable roof. The second floor extends out a quarter of an inch over the front of the cottage. Inside there is a small lip from where the second floor juts out the quarter of an inch. You would need to glue something on the opposite interior wall to create a shelf to add your own second story floor insert.

The next most useful piece I would suggest picking up is the “Stable”. It has two separate detachable roofs, one over the little annex area which has double swinging doors that can fit three Games Workshop cavalry models inside. Two doors on the front lead to the interior of the stable with exterior steps leading to the second floor, again with a functioning door. Its width is just at 12 inches, with about 4 inches of depth, though the roofs extend further. It is about 6-6.25 inches tall, so shorter than the cottage.

I added the Barn to my collection and in the second Youtube video you can see what a beast this piece is. Coupled with some of the other buildings or by itself this is an objective worth fighting over. Unlike the Cottage and Stable, the Barn has no red brick pattern. Instead, it matches the second stories of the other pieces with the wood and yellowish stucco or plaster. It has one huge roof that removes, then a tiny external storage shed attached at the back with removable roof as well. Large barn doors let livestock and fleeing peasants out and villainous raiders in. It does have two doors in the rear for a quick escape. The Farmhouse Barn is just over 11 inches wide. The main portion is 5 and one eighth inches wide, though the front doors add about an inch in the front, while the rear storage adds just under two inches.

There is actually a fourth piece which I have stayed away from: The Farmhouse “gate house and wall” (40003). While it matches the rest in appearance, the stucco or plaster over the bricks is a little too suggestive of Spanish conquests for my tastes. It also would look awkward standing alone, I think. Another Youtube user has the entire set in his collection of miniature terrain.

Obviously these would be great for any fantasy game, but the burned-out tiles on top stand out as evoking Mordheim to me. They are not ruins and very much intact, but they do have some battle or environmental damage. When I think “fantasy” and “red brickwork” I do also think of Privateer Press’s Iron Kingdom. These are the only bricked prepainted buildings in my collection, though Warmachine bases are too large to fit up the Stable’s walkway.