Sunday, October 1, 2017

MazeCraft: Setting up Simple Dungeons for Your Game on a Budget

Nothing fancy, but very inexpensive and should prove a lot of fun with the kids. 

The pictures are of a dungeon board I've been crafting this weekend. My aim was a different aesthetic than the traditional scale and realism of my D&D games, something a bit abstracted and fun. 

I am preparing a game for Halloween night since I've been asked by some family to do so for the cousins and their friends who are too old to trick or treat, and these are the elements. It will play something like a board game version of D&D, a bit like Hero Quest. I was inspired by the magic cat encounter in the dead village of Maajula in Dark Souls 2 and so in my game, if a cat is randomly encountered, giving it a treat results in the grant of a magic spell that can be used once. That should tell you how serious the game is!

I want to make a game that is exciting and fun for our younger ones and one which can be learned easily enough in one session that any of them can run it and they can play it together whenever they want.

However, the mat would work just as well for the traditional miniatures as well for a normal game of D&D. 

The fun part is instead of the arduous and meticulous painting of metal minis, I can recruit my heroes and monsters from the toy bin at thrift stores! See the cleric with his mace below? He cost me a quarter and was fully painted. I have over 100 game pieces like the ones pictured here. You can see I cut of Maleficent's horns--she is going to be painted and re-purposed as the Elf Sorceress in my game. 

The Jenga Blocks are going to be scored to look like heavy stonework, roughed up on the edges a bit with a drimel, and painted to serve as moveable walls and arches. I'm also going to weight them down so they stay in place. A lot less work than modular dungeon tiles, and they can be arranged in endless patterns for every game and stow away like Lincoln Logs.

I ran into some difficulties with the foam core material I used, it was a triple panel that separated during the process and also warped, so I'm going to mount the panels on thin plywood with hinges. I pressed a square perfume lid over and over (and over) into the foam core and it left a relief which then guided me in painting. Yeah, about five hundred pushes and my wife wasn't thrilled with that idea with her perfume lid...

I could have drawn a grid but I wanted a little bit of relief edges on my tiles.

The squares aren't perfectly sized but for my game purposes they will work as game board spaces for movement rolls...the Elf Sorceress mentioned above gets a +1 on movement, incidentally, but she has less life tokens than her fellow adventurers. Still, she gets several spells to choose from at the start of the game and if she should meet a cat in the dungeon, she can have spells restored!

Now get you unto the Mazes!