Thursday, January 15, 2015

Making Mine Scenery Part I

WIP Mine sections.

Broken Contract can be played on a flat game board, and is designed to be played that way to allow novice gamers and hobbyists the ability to jump right into the game. Still, I made the conscious decision to play the game using rulers and inches rather than squares because I'm a miniature wargamer at heart.

Prototype game board sections to show the look and feel of the game.

When I first began play testing Broken Contract I was using thick cardstock cut to 8"x10". The corridors are all 4" wide. Why 4"? Each inch is ~5', so 4" is approxiately 20'. When I was doing the early research for the game that was within the realistic spectrum of sizes of room and pillar mine tunnels, and gives just enough room to move characters around.

Original poster board play test game sections painted with craft paint.

With that being said I'm working on taking some of the prototype board sections and turning them into 3D mining terrain for playtesting and running demos at places like AdeptiCon. Playing on a three dimensional field really brings the environment to life and is very visually satisfying. It brings out the "WOW!" factor in a game and shows that it can be "more than just a game" if you want it to be, and it all begins with a bunch of pieces of 1/4" masonite or hardboard cut to 8"x10".

Today I ran a scenario that involved a crevice that needed to be crossed so I grabbed on of my 8"x10" sections of hardboard and quickly drew on it with a black Sharpie as a stand in for the session. 

Once you have your hardboard cut to the right size you need to cut out pink foam to the right size. You can see if you look closely that I stacked my pink foam (that has since been painted dark brown). The bottom layer is 1 1/2" and the upper is 3/4". I made shallow cuts at various angles, trying to create a rough stone look. To get a "V" groove you need to make two cuts in the same direction at opposite angles. You just need to keep working the cuts until you're happy with the look. I usually make a bunch of deliberate deeper "V" cuts and then sort of slash at it for a while, rub my fingers against the grain of the slashes, and then go back to deliberate cuts. This is how you end up with sections that look a bit more crumbled than just large hunks of stone.

Foam stacked 2 1/4" tall, glued, textured, and painted.

I worked on multiple sections at a time. Once the foam was cut and glued in place, it was left to dry overnight. White glue and foam are slow to bond so when I set the foam to dry I placed bricks or books on each section and check on it a few times over the next 2 hours to see if it shifted at all. If it did I repositioned it and placed my weights back in place. After they were dry I gave them this fashionable coat of dark brown. This color was the old GW Scorched Brown that I matched and got a gallon of at some point. The pink foam was given a thorough coat but I left the floor alone for now. When you coat everything at once and you have all that moisture drying you have a greater chance of things warping, so doing a little at a time is preferable.

Three board sections drybrush with two layers of highlights and then the tunnel floors were given a layer of glued down play sand for texture.

Each section was given a drybrush of matched GW Bubonic Brown and Bleached Bone, essentially a yellowy brown and a tan. This brings out the details. Drybrushing is best done starting with a heavy drybrush of the darker color, and then going less heavy handed with any lighter colors going on after, so the yellow brown got a good heavy drybrush and the tan was done much lighter. Since drybrushing doesn't really cause warping I elected to finish out the night by painting some watered down white glue on the tunnel floors and then spreading play sand (sand box sand from the hardware store) onto the floors. These were then tipped and the excess sand shaken off and left to dry overnight.

Once the sand was thoroughly dry I gave it a coat of dark brown and left it to dry again.

In the morning when the sand was dry I shook off the excess again and then applied a coat of dark brown over the sand and left it to dry again for a couple hours.

The sand floor was then drybrushed with a light highlight of yellow brown and then tan. Then small sections of the walls and floor were drybrushed with a dark grey color called Graphite.

Once the floor was dry I gave it a light drybrush of yellowy brown and another of tan. I want the dirt floor to be obviously dark and dirty so I went really light with both drybrushed layers because all of those raised grains of sand can pick up a lot of color if you're too heavy handed. If you look closely you'll see some dark grey drybrushed "here and there". That's because as an iron mine, veins of iron ore run through the dirt and rock. Actual iron mines are brown, grey, dark metallic, and orange with the mix of dirt, rock, ore, and oxidization all visible in the mine wall.

A picture from an actual iron mine to show the range of colors: brown, silvery grey, and orange.

Though this ends today's tutorial, it is far from the end of the project. More to come!

Where I finished for today. Next up: detailing!

Thanks for reading. Comments and questions are welcome!
-Nick

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting the tutorials, they look great!

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    1. Thanks so much Dr Mathias! I appreciate it. :)

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