15 September 2015

Minus 15 degrees: 15mm Frostgrave - Modular terrain

With my gaming group X-Wing Miniatures campaign coming to a close (the Empire controls 42,5% of the Minos Cluster so far), I'm looking for a new game for our 2016 campaign...

Although I'm trying to push Five Parsecs from Home forward, I'm not sure the group is ready for it... Most of us have been fed exclusively from the Games Workshop tit (although I'm not sure they were the ones being milked) with X-Wing as the single, so far, significant exception: we're used to one point shopping games where we get everything from a single provider: shiny rule book with official background, lists and miniatures lines...

Another game that's been brought forward and that might prove an easier threshold to step over is Frostgrave:

  • Although our interest in it collapsed a few years ago, it probably was the most played miniatures game in our group and most of us still have found memories of it, so the whole "warbands of a dozen fantasy soldiers searching stuff in a ruined city" should fly...
  • And although not quite GW/FFG shiny, the rules are an actual hardcover and full colours book (not just a PDF) and the Osprey Publishing label grants the whole thing a respectability that should help convince the more indy-games-adverse players!
One issuer with Mordheim (with the hindsight of a year of playing X-Wing) was terrain: procurement (buying it or building it; although my brother is the group resident modelling expert and built us tons of superb yet ruined buildings), transport (I've no car), storage (we play in a rented space where we have a single storage locker for the group, not enough for 3 or 4 tables worth of ruined city) and set-up (compared with spreading a mat on the table and throwing six asteroids on it à la X-Wing) is a bitch! And the more energy/time/frustration goes into things peripheric to actual gaming, the less we actually game...

And then I was procrastinating on the web and found this (all pictures from the link)...

Not much to it, right? Random pieces of gigantic ruined walls mounted on one-foot-tiles and forming a modular maze, right? Not just quite...

Tiles are made in couples that, when one is flipped over the other, fit inside each other and take no more height that a single tile (and a few millimeters for the extra base), nearly cutting the storage/transport volume in two.

Those ten 40 cm (18") squared tiles (you need just nine to build a 120 by 120 cm - 3' squared - table, but the tenth isn't taking any more room and allows for extra variation) all fit in a 40 cm (18") cubed  package... Genius, isn't it?

So I went thinking... My go to storage solutions is this:
Allowing for rounded corners and tapering volume, I should use 30cm (1') by 22,5 cm (9") tiles (I could use 30cm square ones but wouldn't be able to close or stack the box anymore) that allow me to build a 90cm (3') squared table perfect for Frostgrave (I do lose a bit of modularity by having non-square tiles as they can only be used in 2 orientations instead of 4)!

Taking the length of the box into account, my stack of tiles is restricted (if I want to fit a whole 90cm squared setup in a single box, which I do) to 34,8cm (around 13½"). So using 3mm (1/8") tick MDF as base, the maximal eight of the walls would be 6cm (about 2¼"), with a couple of mm to spare... Good for (high) single-story walls in 28mm or even two-story ones in 15mm!

Now, let's design those tiles...


  1. I've been pondering 15mm Frostgrave since it came out (for basically the reasons you state) - I'll be looking forward to reading more of your project!

  2. A man after my own heart. Unless you only game at home, your planning has to start with the box!

    1. Especially if you don't have a car and actually have to carry said box!