Scent of a Gamer

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Look upon my works, ye mighty: a review of Tablescapes Forgotten City tiles

My first wargames were played using a green cloth spread over books and boxes to create height. This was not unusual for the time. The times are changing though, and for the better.

Tablescapes are a new entrant, from existing company Secret Weapon. Secret Weapon got their start in detailed bases and base inserts. Clearly they have always wanted to go bigger, and Tablescapes are the result. For this review I am only looking at the Forgotten City tiles. As a Kickstarter backer I received a set of 16 tiles; however 24 tiles are what you get in the retail release, enough to make a 6′ x 4′ table.

I photographed six different tiles out of 16 for this review. The tiles I chose gives a good idea of the complete set. I confess I do not have space to photograph a 4′ x 4′ area right now! I used some SAGA Anglo-Dane models to give an idea of how 28mm miniatures would look against the unpainted tiles. For larger models I used the Bones bone giant. Tiles were not clipped together for photography, so they are slightly mis-aligned.

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The plastic tiles are sturdy. As this was not a retail release the tiles are simply bagged and the bags tapes together. Even so, there was no transit damage evident.  For the boxed retail releases, damage would be highly unlikely.

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With 16 tiles in the set, variety between tiles is important, while still remaining visually part of a complete set. Here Secret Weapon have delivered, with the tiles quite different to one another, while fitting together well.

Detail within each tile is crisp and clear.

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The theme of the table leans towards fantasy, though Greek or Egyptian ruins are quite plausible, and I’d say some tiles could pass for Roman if you wish. The well of skulls would need to be filled in, but that’s one part of one tile and hardly overwhelming.

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The height differences within the tiles are significant. Ruined pillars and other features create a varied terrain. For contrast I placed the base of Games Workshop’s Arcane Ruins terrain set on one of the tiles:

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Looks nice. I painted the based a couple of years ago by simply using a large brush and some sepia wash over a white spray. My first thought with the tablescapes was to do the tiles in a gray with mud surrounds. However a sunbaked look with sand would work just as well.

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Some of these tiles would be fine for a massed battle game. Others would work better for a skirmish level game (like SAGA!). All of the tiles would make a great display for a RPG scenario, if that’s your thing.

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Secret Weapon have done a great job in the design, and congrats also to Wargames Factory, the manufacturer, for bringing these designs to life.

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4 comments on “Look upon my works, ye mighty: a review of Tablescapes Forgotten City tiles

  1. Von
    January 18, 2015

    Well, it makes a change from graph paper! I quite like the look of those, and I think they’d be excellent bases for RPG or skirmish tables. The squares radiate a terrible possibility of pre-measuring (the horror… the horror…) which might be considered a design fault by some, but not I, sir – not I.

    • davekay
      January 18, 2015

      I agree. As I get older and play more games I have come to realise that no pre measuring removes more than it adds to a game.

      I will use these for SAGA and Of Gods & Mortals at the least. It would do for war machine and 40k too I’m sure, as well as a host of other games.

      I should really write those ‘adventure skirmish’ rules I’ve sketched out and done nothing more with.

      • Von
        January 19, 2015

        Everyone’s got some somewhere, haven’t they? I started my fantasy heartbreaker too soon, I think – there’s a half-developed 2d6 system sitting around on my backup drive, wondering if it’ll ever see the light of day.

        The single great issue I have with the ‘no pre measuring’ crowd is that the argument always starts with “you’re taking the skill out of gaming” – no, you’re taking A skill out of gaming, and while I have a certain amount of patience for that at tournament wargame level I have none at all for it in the RPG. I don’t think roleplaying is improved by hair’s-breadth misjudgments of distance. I don’t think wargaming is either, but I’m willing to accommodate the argument under certain circumstances. Also, I do like Warmachorde’s control area mechanic as a compromise, and that wouldn’t work if pre-measuring was allowed across the board. Even if the game itself became less stressful, I feel that something cool and appropriate would be lost.

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This entry was posted on January 17, 2015 by in Review, Tabletop and tagged , , , , , .
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