Summer of Terrain Blog 01: Seven Years

Now that the move is over and we are fine-tuning things here I finally have the chance to begin a project that has been seven years in the making.

Seven years ago Black Knight Games was not in our exciting new location, it wasn’t in the original location, it wasn’t even a registered business.  Seven years ago Black Knight Games was a dream I had, that I was actively working towards.  I was living in Ottawa working as a manager at Games Workshop and taking night classes in the hopes that I might learn something useful about opening my own shop (I didn’t). I had this idea about what I wanted my store to be, it was clean, spacious, and had a fun environment.  People could play all kinds of games in the shop, but our specialty was to be wargames.  And one thing was certain: we would have AMAZING terrain for those games.

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Working at Games Workshop I had acquired a love of really nice scenery, and I had a knack for making it too.  I knew that no matter what my store’s scenery would impress…I was wrong.  Turns out opening a business is hard work, and when you are dealing with mandatory things like ordering inventory, opening a bank account, and painting the walls the fun stuff like store terrain falls to the back of the cue.  So, we ended up with some great pieces, but mostly quick and dirty and functional terrain.  It didn’t match, there wasn’t a great theme to it, but it would do.

Until now.  Now that we have moved, we have upgraded pretty much everything here at Black Knight Games.  We have more space, we have more shiny, and the shop is much closer to the dream I had seven years ago.  So now it is time to dust off my old goal of having amazing terrain for the shop.  I am declaring this the Summer of Terrain!  My goal is that by summer’s end (September 21st) that we will have purged all the old ‘good enough’ terrain, and replaced it with themed sets, matching terrain, and premium tables.  Every week I will be scheduling myself and another staffer to work on new tables, updating terrain, and adding new stuff – and I plan to document it all here so that you can get as excited about the new scenery as I am, and so you can see the process for yourselves.

Justin’s Infinity Table

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There is a lot we are planning to do, but you’ve got to start somewhere and to me the natural starting point is with the terrain and tables that we owe to our generous BUILDER and LANDSCAPER perk-holders from our fundraiser. This will give you a chance to watch our progress as we fulfill the requests of our perk-holders as well adding some transparency to the process.

The first project I will be working on is the first Premium Table.  Premium tables are special display tables that will be set up all the time, allowing us to do all sorts of things we can’t do with usual modular tables.  The first premium table was claimed by Justin who wanted us to address our lack of terrain for Infinity.  He wanted a congested city with lots of levels, and lots of cover and terrain.  This kind of project is a perfect use of a Premium table as Infinity requires more complex terrain elements than a table for 40K or Warmachine, so I couldn’t wait to sink me teeth in to it.

Initial inspiration came from the idea of a crowded, high-tech sci-fi city like in the picture to the right, and movies like Blade Runner, Minority Report, or A.I..  I also really liked the idea of tying elements of Time Square in with advertisements everywhere.  Billboards and signs would be a fun way of taking this table to the next level and playing with the lines of sight.  After exploring websites of companies that deal in infinity-style scenery it became clear that an affordable and very detailed style of terrain, using laser-cut MDF, was very common.  So I have scoured the internet and ordered from five different companies, acquiring a great selection of buildings.  I have also snagged a bunch of great little details like com-panels, furniture for inside the buildings, phone booths, and sci-fi vehicles.  Honestly I may have gone a bit overboard, but truthfully it’s for a good cause as our Infinity players have been forced to bodge together terrain scraps up until now.

I have given the design to Fred who will make us the frame and base of the table which will have two levels to it, as well as a tunnel.  Total price tag so far: $725.00.

Join me next week when we begin to put the terrain together, and hopefully have the base table built!  I will also share details on the layout.

I hope you enjoy following our progress as we quest to have the terrain our gamers deserve!

~The Black Knight

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