The Great Terrain Build!

The Great Terrain Job

This Saturday we will be spending the entire day building new terrain, fixing up old terrain, and we need YOU to help out with The Great Terrain Job!

Entry Fee: FREE!  In fact you can earn some cool stuff just by joining in!

How it Works: We will be spending the entire day improving the scenic terrain at Black Knight Games, and anyone is welcome to join us.  Each participant will get a Great Terrain Job points sheet to track what they have done, and what achievements they have accomplished (these can include each hour spend helping, donating a terrain piece, attending a seminar etc.).  For every three points a participant gets they earn a ballot to put towards one of three Prize Draws!

Seminars: In addition to the constant building, and painting of terrain Jay will be hosting three seminars to teach participants some new techniques!  These are also free, and you may attend any that you find interesting:

11:00am – Building Foamcore Buildings

1:30pm – Table-Building Basics

4:00pm – Airbrushing Terrain

We want YOUR help to make a BIG improvement to the terrain selection here at Black Knight Games, so join us on Saturday!!!

Jay’s Big Bet: Terrain Sets

A couple of months ago I initiated the first Jay’s Big Bet to finally get myself over the hump, and finish our Infinity Table.  At the time I bet the Infinity players of Black Knight Games that I could get the table completely finished by April, or I would have to give everyone a discount on Infinity for the month.  I am proud to say that I was victorious!  The table is complete, and our local players have been enjoying what is now a real centerpiece table.

Since I felt that the bet really did help me to stay motivated, I am doing it again.  This time my goal is not a single massive table, rather a series of matching sets of terrain.  I would very much like to begin getting our available terrain to a place where we have amazing premium tables like the Infinity one, as well as high quality matching scenery for the rest of the tables – rather than the hodge-podge mix of stuff we have now.

So to that end here is my next Big Bet!:

I must complete three new sets of terrain, one each month, for the next three months (including this one).  A set of terrain does not necessarily include a table, rather it is a set of terrain pieces that go together, and would make for enough terrain for one table.  The sets will be thematic in some way, which should add some nice variation to the every-day terrain we already have.  Each set must be done by the end of the month.

If I fail to complete a new set of terrain on any given month I will buy a fully painted set of terrain instead.

Either way our gamers get more nice scenery, so it’s Win-Win!  So let me know what you think, and let me know if you have any great ideas for future bets, or for the terrain I should make now!

Jay's Big Bet Terrain Sets

Jay’s Big Bet: Infinity

So I have been looking at the number of special store projects I have been wanting to sink my teeth in, and have failed utterly to make any progress on, and it got me thinking,  Why is it that I have such a hard time completing some of these tasks.  Tim, in his guru-like way, explained to me that there were a couple of factors: I needed to get myself in a regular routine of working on special projects, I need to remove the temptation to slink back to the office and start working on other things, and I need to be accountable somehow.

In the past I have tried having a routine for projects like terrain.  I planned to be working Friday evenings every week on these kinds of projects.  It failed – and quickly too.  The problem was that Fridays are busy in the evening, and it was often hard to pull myself away from a work project that I had started working on earlier in the day – plus it was payday and for some reason the humans that work here insist on regular deposits for their efforts.  It was just too easy to justify working on something more pressing, and I often took the excuse to not work on these special long-term projects.

So I now have a new plan.  I will address the routine by working every Thursday morning on terrain and other special projects.  I will address the temptation by removing regular work projects from Thursdays entirely, and by not starting anything until I’m done my special project time at about 2pm.  But I know myself, and while this plan is solid it lacks one major thing – the accountability – and that’s where you come in.

As the owner of my own store I am the boss, and if I choose to flake there really isn’t anyone that can do anything about it.  I’m really only beholden to my family, and to my customers.  So to keep me motivated I am going to begin a series of ‘Big Bets’ where I give myself a project and a deadline, and if I can’t make it I have to give something up – something for those that were let down by my failure, so without further ado I present:

Jay’s Big Bet for the Infinity Table

I have been working on this Infinity Table for a long time – basically as long as we’ve been in the new store, and it’s embarrassing that it’s not done.  Sure, the main buildings are there, and it looks kinda neat, but I have so much more in store for it.  This table needs to be a masterpiece.  So I am betting all of my Infinity Gamers that I can finish this table – for realz – by the end of March.  If it isn’t done 100% by then, I will be offering all Infinity products – both in stock and through orders – for 20% Off for the entire month of April!  Just to clarify, it’s one or the other: if I can get the table done there’s no discount – but you will finally have an amazing table to play on.  That’s the deal.  And yes I realize that the deadline is April 1st, but this is no joke.

Jay's Big Bet Infinity

So can I do it?  Well I certainly hope so!  But even if I can’t, at least I’ll be punished like the no good, table-promising, deadline-failing, punk I am…just don’t be too sad if I make it!

~Jay

Terrain Blog 02: Let’s Try This Again

Several months ago I started a blog called ‘Summer of Terrain’.  In it I discussed grandiose plans to update and improve our store’s terrain selection.  I’ve always loved good terrain, and I have always making it too.  I’ve long wanted to have a stack of great, matching scenery in my shop.  Beautiful display boards, and plenty of variety were my goals.  I failed pretty spectacularly.  Now, months later, I am left with a New Year’s resolution to restart, and do it right this time.  But while I often have lofty goals, I can be flawed when it comes to sticking to them, so I am hoping to set up a series of parameters to ensure that THIS TIME I am able to carry through.

1.  ‘When I feel like it’ vs. ‘scheduled time’

A big chunk of the problem that I had the first time was that I decided to work on the terrain whenever I had a spare moment (and of course whenever I actually felt like doing so with that spare moment).  Being a store owner there is no end of little tasks to work on, and no shortage of fun distractions as well.  While it was easy to stay motivated early when there was fun and new stuff to work on, it was hard to stay so afterwards.  I plan on fixing this by instead dedicating a specific time each week to the building of terrain for the store.  Every Friday, from 1:00pm – 6:00pm I will be working on terrain, and I would love to have you join me!  If you have an interest about learning about terrain building, or just pitching in, show up any Friday during those hours and you are welcome to help.  This will have the added benefit of making me stick to the schedule as well.  If I can get a minimum of 5 hours of work done one the store terrain each week we will be in good shape.

2. Remaining Accountable

The hardest part about not carrying though with my original goals was that this isn’t my own personal army I’m working one.  It’s not my collection, or deck I’m working on here.  Many of my initial terrain projects were supposed to be the fulfillment of our fundraiser pledges.  Which means that I haven’t fulfilled my end of the bargain to many of our very best and loyal customers.  That cannot do.  I need to do a better job of remembering that, and push through to not only finish their projects, but do so at the quality they deserve.  To those that have waited so long without seeing their ideas completed – I apologize, and will redouble my efforts in the New Year.

3. The First Hurdle

Part of my problem was planning.  I began with the most ambitious project of all of them: Justin’s Infinity Table.  I grossly underestimated the amount of work that would go in to this behemoth.  It has been a very big task to say the least, and it is in part because of this long-term project that I think I fell off a bit.  There wasn’t enough moments of ‘Haha!  I finished!’ to keep the motivation up.  Had I started with some of the smaller tasks I likely would have finished many of them in the amount of time I have put into this one big task.  But it would be unfair to just drop his project to the bottom of the list too.  So I have decided to alternate weeks.  One week I will put towards the Infinity Table, the next I will put towards some of the smaller projects to get them completed too.

Well that’s the plan, and I need to your help to stick to it.  Show up on Fridays, and pitch in a bit.  Remind me and ask me how different projects are going.  Most importantly don’t let me off the hook!  Together we can turn this false start in to a game winner!  Now I’d better get off and get working – It’s Friday!

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

Infinity Kits

Terrain Workshop this Weekend

This Saturday we will be running a Terrain Building Workshop for anyone interested!  Come on in and we can teach you some different techniques, it all depends what you would like to learn!  If you are a beginner we can teach you fundamentals of making simple scenic pieces like woods, hills or rivers.  If you are looking for  help building your own table at home we can help you with some tips and suggestions for that as well.  Or if you want some more advanced techniques we can help you out there too!  Here are the details for the event:

When: Saturday, April 2nd, at 12:00pm

Entry Fee: None, this is a free event!

What to bring: Yourself.  If you have some terrain piece that you are working on at home that you’d like help with feel free to bring that.  Otherwise the materials will be provided.

See you there!

It Begins! Flames of War get’s some love.

Work has begun on our new Flames of War table.  The table is now under construction, and the buildings that we ordered for it have arrived (and there are a lot of them, just look at the gigantic void in my wallet!).  So stay tuned for more on the table!

Also, we have scheduled our first Flames of War tournament in a very long time, on Saturday, March 26th.  It will begin at 10am, and will be 1250pts.  Be sure to attend if you want us to keep our effort to grow the Flames of War community going!

New Table: Flames of War

I just wanted to let everyone know about a fun project we are beginning at Black Knight Games.  I will be making a show table for Flames of War!  The table will have a European village on the one side, and farmland on the rest of it.  With Flames of War gaining in popularity in the store, our current FoW terrain options aren’t cutting it.  So keep your eyes peeled for the new table as we create it.  We also plan on posting work in progress pictures as well as a video on how the table was made.