Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on something that I’ve fancied doing for a number of years – creating a dungeon exploring game for 15mm fantasy miniatures.
I made some initial notes over Easter and got stuck in during April and May, although the Ayton painting deadline did have to take priority. Lots of discussions with a friend, who shares the same nostalgia for D&D and likes games like this, led to some early rules playtesting and the making of trial floortiles. Last weekend it all came together and we managed some 3 player games for the first time, and actually had a good time!
Which door next?
After trying card and high density blue styrofoam, in the end I took advice and went for 4mm cork tiles for the rooms and corridors. It takes paint well, doesn’t warp (if you paint the other side too), cuts easily, has a nice texture for representing stone, and is very cheap. The whole set I made (2 dozen rooms and a dozen pieces of corridor), using about 8 square feet of the stuff, cost less than £10.
Doors are deliberately oversized (bigger monsters don’t want to get stuck do they?); 28mm scale from Warbases. Pillars are cotton reels donated by Goat Major, other dungeon scenery is mostly scratchbuilt. The game is still developing, but the core is there already. I want to add things like sewers, fire pits and other stuff, and these will all be made to fit in with the basic kit.
Going to see the Boss:
Figures are from a mix of ranges, with Demonworld furnishing the majority. Characters get nice floortile-matching bases, while the monsters and other enemies are largely borrowed from other parts of the collection and are based for the outdoors – which actually helps to spot who’s who!
As with all things like this, the game started out pretty simple, but has grown in detail – though hopefully not in complexity. The core things the group and I wanted were; levelling-up between games, finding treasure/magic items, end-game Boss encounters, and generally not having it too easy. I.e. a challenging game with rewards. Level 1 characters are weak, as they should be, and completing the first game is a mission in survival more than anything. From there, capabilities increase and more skills, spells and abilities can be obtained to give the party (made up of 4 characters, which come from the usual stereotypes) scope to tackle increasingly tougher dungeons.
“No, don’t open two doors at once!… Oh dammit!”
Every game starts with the descent to a new dungeon level, with things kicking off when the first door is opened. Sensible precautions – Fighter at the front, Magic User in the middle:
Our first session was fun, but we took our time getting through 2 complete games due to some bad dice-induced protracted combats and lots of wandering monsters. Next time, though, we’ll be 3rd level and those Orcs and Gobins better watch out!