Monday, July 13, 2015

BGiME #2: Creating a Simple Ruin

I have a love affair with making smaller versions of big things that goes back to the first time I ever saw a museum diorama. I’m utterly fascinated by the skill and labor it takes to reproduce the real world in a smaller scale and just seeing a well-crafted scenic diorama or tabletop battlefield or model railroad layout always immediately transforms me into a joyful child. It’s no wonder that my favorite section of Battle Games in Middle-Earth is the “Modelling Workshop” chapter of the magazine.

Issue #2 contains instructions for creating an extremely simple ruin for your battlefield, a piece crafted from thin and thick card and a craft knife. It’s the sort of project that takes less an hour if you don’t count the time it takes for the glue to dry. Simply bisect a square of thick card with a jagged, ruined wall-type cut, glue the two section together back to back, and stick it to a square of thin card. A coat of green and gray paint later and you’ve got yourself your first piece of scratch-built wargame terrain.

Defend this crumbling corner of Arnor!
The base of thin card warped when painted.

Nothing fancy, but it works.

The simple ruin provides cover for a squad of Grey Company Dunedain.

Let’s face it: this is a beginner project and doesn’t have much shelf-life as a piece of terrain. Even the project in issue #3 is more advanced and better looking than this one and the ruin is going to be swiftly replaced by more impressive scenery. Does that make crafting this simple ruin a waste of time? Not completely. 

First, for the neonate wargamer, it gets them scratch-building early and thinking about better projects they might want to tackle. Secondly, it serves fine in a pinch to add a little more variation to the battlefield or to act as an objective point. Thirdly, this is prime hand-me-down terrain. If you have children hanging around you regularly, you know they tend to become interested in whatever Dad, Mom, Uncle John, Cousin Bill, etc. is doing and might want to start playing with little soldiers themselves—even if they don’t use dice, tape measures, or other things like rules. This piece, quick and cheaply made, it something you wouldn’t mind letting them use when they play or as a project you could create with them as a lazy Sunday afternoon activity. I’ll keep my simple ruin on my shelf for now and I might put it to use a few issues from now when we play through the “Defend the Ruins!” scenario found in issue #6.

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