In RPG games, you can use abstract methods of representation. It works well just to say where players are, but where’s the fun in that?
For the campaign I’m running right now, which is the battle for Castobell (Coming soon to the website), once we finish it, I made up a very large and broad campaign that would cover several sessions. The players, relatively new Deathwatch members, are in charge of gathering the defenses of Castobell before the main hive fleet arrives. I gave their group access to a few vehicles and a Thunderhawk to ferry them around, and they have to plan out what they’re doing on a session by session basis.
Now, I wanted to make a map, but rather than just printing it out, I came up with a different approach. We had just finished up playing planetary empires, and poor Paul was complaining that the rules were good, but using the map was just too difficult. So, since the tiles weren’t in use, I made up this.
This went over pretty well. But then I took it one step further. I found a good amount of epic sized miniatures to use on the map, and now it’s really gone over well.
They really don’t serve a purpose overall I guess. But there is just some excitement in seeing the minis out on the board representing the battle as it unfolds. Not just for me, but the other members of the group as well. It’s almost like being a kid again, seeing the map there and the vehicles on it, knowing where they are so they can be moved around. Being able to touch them. Paul even painted up that black Rhino in the middle as a deathwatch Rhino. It’s really been cool.
If I’m honest though, some of it wasn’t exactly cheap. Rather than going to Games workshop, I opted for Ebay, and found some really nice deals compared to new prices, however, still a bit exorbitant. Each of the rhinos basically cost me around 50 cents to a dollar, the three dreads came in for five. The cheapest was the Ork Battle Wagons at about 50 cents a piece. The thunderhawk was the most expensive at thirteen dollars, which was a steal compared to the 25 dollars that GW charges for them new. I also really like the paint job on it, even if it is Dark Angels colors rather than Deathwatch. But if I bought it new, I’d be painting (and failing) at it myself.
Now if you’re looking to try this on your own, make note to just watch the bottom line. It can get expensive quickly, and their size is deceiving. Those Dreads are actually mounted on nickels, for size comparison. I was actually shocked at how small they are when I did it too. However, even when buying them, I didn’t try to go for full on accuracy, but rather tried to figure out what I could use pieces for. For instance, the Red dread I’m using to represent one of the head guys in the Ork Mob, and the Leman Russ I got I’m using as a predator, simply because the predators cost too much. This kept costs down but kept the magic alive.
Also if you’re planning on trying this, remember to watch out for the marks. Epic has been around for quite a while as well, and their first first models..well….
Some like them. Some don’t. I prefer the newer one myself.
A cheaper alternative though, if you’d like, and I only thought of this afterward, is to buy up some micro machines or pull out some of your old one as representations. A few older military micros might be just what you need.
It really depends on how far you want to go with it, and how much money you’re willing to spend. Me? Don’t think I’ll be buying much more of these guys. Think I got enough.
Thought of the Day: A small mind is a Tidy mind.