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DIY Dungeon Boards (as opposed to using print outs)

Discuss other HeroQuest expansion topics that do not fit into the above categories.

DIY Dungeon Boards (as opposed to using print outs)

Postby DC1346 » Wednesday June 27th, 2018 10:08pm

As I mentioned in my introduction (An Older Gamer from Nevada), my hobby background has long been 15 mm scale Napoleonic gaming. Over a course of three decades, I've assembled a collection of one French infantry corp, one French cavalry corp, and one French artillery corp complete with limbers to pull all of the cannon. Pictured below are some of my pieces.

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Having recently revived an interest in Hero Quest, I've used my prior painting experience to work on dungeon tiled boards. Although I appreciate the fact that there are some extraordinarily good boards which may be downloaded and printed out, as a miniatures gamer, I've always preferred three dimensional game play. I suspect that this may be one reason why I was drawn to Hero's Quest when I bought my first set back in '92.

In thinking about dungeon tile design, it has occurred to me that all three dimensional models fall into two categories: Specialized or generic. Specialized boards are custom designed to fit one purpose while generic boards may be adapted for a variety of settings.

For example, pictured below are some pictures of a "swamp" board.
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Although this board has a nice "wow" factor, it can only be used as a swamp board. If as the dungeon master, I were to use it for another module, there's a good chance that one (or more) players would comment on this. "Oh ... we've seen this before. Keep your eyes open for the carnivorous frogs!" Zargon will show you carnivorous frogs you pompous dwarf. DIE! DIE! DIE! (maniacal laughter) ...

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NOTE 1: Special game rules for this board are that players may only have full movement on the gray dungeon tiles. The brown tiles are mud and each time a player moves across a mud tile he/she has to roll a D & D 4 sided die to see how many movement points this will cost. Having wide splayed feet, the frogs have no problems with scampering across the mud.

NOTE 2: Some of the greenery on this board came from recycled green scrubbing pads. I found that when these kitchen pads wear out, they peel off in layers. Rather than throw them away, I re-purposed them as swamp plants!

While specialized dungeon tiles can be a lot of fun to make, I prefer using generic boards because they may easily be re-purposed for other modules.

Pictured below is one of my larger generic boards.
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To make this particular board more interesting, I included some "pits" which I've used for customized inserts.

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With the inclusion of a crypt, some tombstones, and a rusted iron fence, I now have a graveyard. A player who opened the crypt would find a staircase leading down to the dungeon.

Here's a closeup of the ghost in the back of the cemetery.
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I combined this graveyard with a customized board that connected to the back of the cemetery. This board also has a decaying a crypt at the top of small hill.
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Here is the same generic game board again. I switched out the crypt, the fencing, and the gravestones for a 4 sided fresco on a stone column. I also added a stone altar. In the background are some Greek columns. By the power of Zargon, the graveyard has been transformed into a temple!

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by the way: I got the Greek columns from a garage sale. The woman who sold me the columns told me that when she put them in her aquarium, the paint flaked off and killed her fish. I bought the columns on the cheap, repainted them, and am using them for a DIY Hero Quest module.

Getting back to the generic game board. Here is the same board which has now been configured as a library. The 4 sided fresco was switched out for a two sided bookcase. Does the bookcase lead a lower level of the dungeon? Zargon's lips are sealed.
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As a dungeon master, I think it's always fun to have some larger dungeon boards.

At the same yard sale where I bought the Greek columns, I got a plastic bucket filled with 1 inch square plastic tiles. In a future post, I'll write (and post pictures) of how I used these tiles with cake board, primer, and textured paint to create various sized rooms and corridors.

David
Last edited by DC1346 on Wednesday June 27th, 2018 10:32pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: DIY Dungeon Boards (as opposed to using print outs)

Postby whitebeard » Wednesday June 27th, 2018 10:21pm

Excellent! Keep the pictures coming!


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Re: DIY Dungeon Boards (as opposed to using print outs)

Postby Daedalus » Thursday June 28th, 2018 6:19pm

I like the swamp board, it looks like it would be a lot of fun to play on. I also like the look of the bits of green moss in the cracks of your generic board.

Playing Hero Quest on a more open board changes things. Have you worked out rules for encountering monsters yet? I mean, how does line of sight figure in, and at what distance?

Another member, Teldurn, had also introduced outdoor maps in his Heroquest Prime adventure and ruleset. It would take some digging, but you might find some useful material.
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Re: DIY Dungeon Boards (as opposed to using print outs)

Postby DC1346 » Thursday June 28th, 2018 8:05pm

Daedalus wrote:Have you worked out rules for encountering monsters yet? .


That's a really good question. Since line of sight is literally a line of sight, any creatures in the open would immediately be placed on the board as soon as the characters entered it.

Some creatures will be hidden and will not appear until one or more of the characters reaches a "trigger point" on the map. In the case of the swamp, several of the frogs will be submerged and would not be visible to the players.

One reason I like open boards is because the ability of the players to survive will depend in part upon the choices they make. If for example, our four heroes were to enter a board where they encountered a war band of 10 goblins on the far side of the board, the players could advance to a tactically defensible location that would force the goblins to "bottleneck" as they tried to reach the players. They could also retreat to a more easily defended location. If one of the players had a crossbow, they would have the opportunity to pick off some of the approaching goblins before they got into strike range. The magic users could also do the same thing.

Players who go into berserk mode and charge forward into a free for all risk being isolated and slaughtered. (Evil laugh)
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Re: DIY Dungeon Boards (as opposed to using print outs)

Postby benvoliothefirst » Thursday June 28th, 2018 9:09pm

Beautiful looking boards! Love the water effects in the swamp board, and your rules for triggering the different monsters remind of of SNES-era RPGS like Dragon Quest/Warrior and Final Fantasy.

I'm not real familiar with the Napoleonics, or the 15mm scale. Have you ever played any of the Warhammer/Warmahordes games? I ask because "HeroQuest as a gateway to DnD" is a pretty popular story around here, and I'm always looking for excuses to use Battle Masters as a gateway to Warhammer for my players. Seems like you've probably got a lot of the rules worked out on your own for this.

I'm curious to see whether taking the walls out of HeroQuest causes other board members to scream "blasphemy!"


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Re: DIY Dungeon Boards (as opposed to using print outs)

Postby torilen » Thursday June 28th, 2018 9:30pm

So...um...well, I don't mean to be rude or intrude or anything...
...
...
But do you, well, happen to have a guest house where I could come live and we can just
play HQ and D&D with all those great boards and minis?

:D :D :D
:lol: :lol: :lol:


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Re: DIY Dungeon Boards (as opposed to using print outs)

Postby DC1346 » Thursday June 28th, 2018 11:17pm

torilen wrote:So...um...well, I don't mean to be rude or intrude or anything...
...
...
But do you, well, happen to have a guest house where I could come live and we can just
play HQ and D&D with all those great boards and minis?


Hah-hah. A guest house? I wish.

Not only do I not have a guest house or even a guest bedroom but I don't even have a gaming group. I'm just painting figures and organizing modules right now.

Since I teach high school, I'm thinking of starting up a Hero Quest group when school resumes in August.
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Re: DIY Dungeon Boards (as opposed to using print outs)

Postby DC1346 » Friday June 29th, 2018 12:06am

benvoliothefirst wrote:I'm not real familiar with the Napoleonics, or the 15mm scale.


Wikipedia says that 15 mm. is 1/100th scale. The figures stand about 17-18 mm. from base to top.

15 mm. war gaming groups used to be really popular but a lot of the Napoleonic groups died out in the states with the advent of increasingly sophisticated computer war games. I'm talking about games like Total War Napoleon, not first person shooter or RPG games.

A lot of the remaining groups have switched to rules like De Bellis Antiquitatis which allow players to form entire armies (ancient through medieval periods) using 24-32 pieces.

As an old school purist, I much prefer larger scale armies. My Napoleonic collection follows General de Brigade rules where one figure = 20 men. I'm currently working on an Austrian division but it's slow going because the Austrian units were HUGE. While French units of the line are represented by 36 figurine battalions with regiments of two battalions, an Austrian battalion has 96 figurines with regiments of up to six battalions! Getting enough Austrians together to form a unit is a pain in the you-know-what but they look really good when massed together.

Pictured here is an Austrian battalion.
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Pictured here is a Westphalian battalion. These were French allies.
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The Imperial Guard picture I posted at the start of this thread were the only French units remotely similar to the Austrians. Most French line units were much smaller.

benvoliothefirst wrote:Have you ever played any of the Warhammer/Warmahordes games? I ask because "HeroQuest as a gateway to DnD" is a pretty popular story around here, and I'm always looking for excuses to use Battle Masters as a gateway to Warhammer for my players. Seems like you've probably got a lot of the rules worked out on your own for this.


Ah ... I used to be a D&D player but switched over to Hero Quest. A lot of the older D&D players didn't have game boards or figurines. While the dungeon master had a map with hidden monsters and treasure, everyone else played with nothing more than some dice and their imagination.

I switched over to Hero Quest because it was a lot more visual. I understand that D&D has evolved over the years and a lot of players now use game pieces and boards ... but back in the day (70's and 80's), things were a lot more simple.

benvoliothefirst wrote:I'm curious to see whether taking the walls out of HeroQuest causes other board members to scream "blasphemy!"


After buying Hero Quest back in '92, I had to create my own modules. In the days before the internet became popular and on-line shopping became readily available, I had no way of getting new modules while living abroad in Saudi Arabia. I didn't even KNOW there were new modules. Due to local demand from my gaming group, I began creating my own modules using dungeon tiles glued to cardboard. I wish I had those modules today. For some reason I managed to hold on to my original Hero Quest board but lost all of my DIY modules. Go figure.

Although I like the original Hero Quest board, one of the drawbacks to playing with boards like these is that everything is laid out.

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Players in a corridor will have line of sight to the doors in that corridor but the very nature of this type of game board means that players also know that there are rooms beyond the ones they're outside of. Although they don't know what's in these rooms, they know where they are and they know how large they are. They can also see all of the corridors on the board. The only questions which are then left involve, finding traps, treasures, monsters, and resolving combat.

Using open boards veils all of this in a "fog of war" mystery. What lies around the corner of the corridor? What's behind the door? Is it a room? Is it a corridor? Is it a courtyard? I would argue that there's a lot more player excitement when players don't know what's coming ... but then again, that's just me.

I think the rules are flexible enough to accommodate either type of game play. I would also observe that current game play with existing modules could be easily adapted to an open board concept.
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Re: DIY Dungeon Boards (as opposed to using print outs)

Postby Daedalus » Tuesday July 3rd, 2018 4:31pm

How do you plan to handle searches? if I recall correctly, Teldurn had broken his maps into zones. I believe he used an actual fog-of-war mechanic as he played online. That solved the issue of not searching with monsters on the board.
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Re: DIY Dungeon Boards (as opposed to using print outs)

Postby DC1346 » Wednesday July 4th, 2018 9:53pm

Daedalus wrote:How do you plan to handle searches? if I recall correctly, Teldurn had broken his maps into zones. I believe he used an actual fog-of-war mechanic as he played online. That solved the issue of not searching with monsters on the board.


That's a good question. If you're playing on a large board, say 10 X 10 tiles or larger, I don't think it'd be realistic for anyone to spot a trap or a treasure clear across a large tile even if they had direct line of sight.

I hadn't thought this far ahead. I've been primarily focused on creating 3-D tiles. I like the idea of quadrants or zones. Do you know how far out Teldurn allows his player characters to search?
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