Operation Dragon’s Hoard: Part 3 – Building Boards and Buying Planes

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Since the last time I wrote about my demo game plans a fair amount has happened. I’m going to split it up into a few sections but there has been a lot of progress

The Plan

The initial plan was to run the demo game at two shows (Leeds and York), with Leeds being the starting point and York being the big focus on getting it right. However, after some thoughts I’m extending the trip the board is going on. Rather than the first trip being in October, I’ve changed up the target dates. These are entirely unconfirmed so they can and will change.

  • August – Claymore, Edinburgh,
  • October – Fiasco, Leeds
  • February – Vapnartak, York
  • March – Hammerhead, Newark
  • April – Salute, London

Yep, that last one is Salute. Having been there again this year, I would be really interested in helping to expand the games there and bring something that I missed this year – a board showing off ultramodern rulesets. Having four events before it gives me plenty of time to test out, tweak and balance. Rapid iteration of any tweaks will be the aim of the game.

The Scenario

The basic scenario idea is down – two teams clashing over a downed cargo plane in an attempt to take control of it. However, I’m still working out the exact details. Should it be two roughly symmetrical teams (two groups of elites) or embrace the asymmetry and have one team comprised of elites and the other team being numerically larger but with lower skill or with an additional form of support (such as a technical or two).

I also realised in my first post I said the words “three way fight”. After having more a thought about this, I decided that only having two teams made more sense. It’s a simpler setup for players to jump in on and also means there will not be a GM controlled side. It also means less people are need to get a game going!

Once the style is worked out, I can then start rolling up the stats and assembling the force sheets. Inspired by Tiny Terrain‘s board at Colours, I think I’ll be getting some top trumps cards ordered (probably multiple sets as a just in case). Having a card that contains a character’s details and what they look like is easier to use than a normal character sheet. I’ll also be doing an activation sheet for me (as the GM) to have – reminding me who goes when rather than having to keep referring back on forth.

I’ll also need, once selected, to get all the figures painted up and good to go. Luckily I have a few months to work on it.

The Base

As you can see the boards are well on their way thanks to a full day of work on Easter Saturday alongside my dad. All the woodworking has been done (combining the 2′ x 2′ pieces with the wood battens) and the base layer of foam is in place. So far, only the test board has had a thin layer of filler applied to it. This was down a misbuying on my part – I bought pre-mixed filler rather the powder need to mix up a pourable amount. I spent an evening using half a pot before realising the mistake I’d made.

The boards are still at my parent’s house and so I can only carry on working when I go visit them. My next trip is in June and I intend to take some extra time off to apply the filler and then get a chance to paint it before having to shove it in the back of my car. The plan is then to drill dowel holes to increase stability when assembled. The test board will hopefully become my photography base; I can use the dowel holes to mount a background on and the textured surface should be more interesting than whatever is on my desk.

The Centre Piece

Of all the things I’m terrified of doing as part of this whole demoing game process, building the centre piece is pretty high up the list. The reasoning is two fold: the model I’m using as the wreck was very expensive and it will make or break the board as a whole. If the plane takes up too much space it ruins the balance and playability of the demo. If I paint it up terribly then it doesn’t tie the board together and it will catch attention for the wrong reasons. If I make a terrible mistake while assembling it, it might be doomed from the start.

However, I have a plan. I’ll build the plane as if I intended to keep it fully assembled, making sure the interior is decorated (at least in base colours). Then once finished, I’ll take a razor saw to it and cut it up into sections. The exact proportion of each section will be inspired by the Modern Warfare map I took the idea from. Each of these sections will be mounted onto MDF bases. The bases will then be enhanced with additional bits of terrain such as piles of sand the plane has dug into or cargo that has been forcibly ejected from the downed plane. Then they will be painted up and weathering applied.

The look I’m aiming for is of an aircraft that was shot down, the fires have gone out and the weather has started to affect it. So less raging fires and more sand.

The Scenery

My original plan was to use Sarissa’s excellent factory model as part of the table but after looking at the size of it, I think it might end up overpowering the table. Instead, I’m thinking of going for a more open look, with a few rocky outcrops made from leftover foam and maybe two of the Knights of Dice buildings. One of the teams will probably start close to some of Spectre’s SUVs, to represent how they arrived in the area. From their, it will be a case of playing around with layouts until I find the way that works and looks the best.

Conclusion

Overall its gone from “not doing much” to “oh god do everything”. Getting the boards started was a big help but there is still a long way to go. I’m still unsure about the decision to bring the first show forward but we shall see. Hopefully the next update will start showing more of what I’m up to.


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