Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Project: Back to the Roots

With the latest car wars debacle still fresh in mind, it’s time to completely jump genres and scales.  It’s time to get back to my dungeon crawling roots. It’s been a few years since I’ve hosted a dungeon crawl, and this is as good a time as any.  Some thoughts on planning:
What rules?
This ranks as the most important question and the least important question at the same time.  On the one hand, the rules drive the miniatures.  On the other hand, there are a lot of rules out there, and they all operate from the same basic perspective with respect to the physical aspect of the game.  Every rule set worth its salt uses a square grid, so until we’re ready to really start rolling dice…we don’t need to answer this question just yet.  We will later, but not today.

A selection of Pendraken hero types in 10mm. 

What scale?
The big 25mm to 28mm miniatures are widely available and in a huge variety of styles, but they are so darn big.  You can only fit a few hundred in the box that I’ve got, and that’s assuming flat terrain tiles.  Which are boring.  They are also really expensive, on the order of $3 to $10 each, and they take an hour or more to paint.  Each.  Without the time, space, or money these are flat out wrong for me.

There are a lot of nice figures out there in the 15mm range, but most of those are sold in lots of 40-50 figures, the better to build an army.  You get a lot of personality, but wind up with a lot of unused lead in the bargain.  So that’s out, too.
Considering the three critical variables, there is really only one scale that will work for my dungeon crafting purposes, and that’s the not-quite-too-small-10mm range.  They are cheap – less than fifty cents a figure, and you can buy them in small enough lots for dungeon delving.  As if that’s not enough, Pendraken make a line of dungeon furniture in 10mm, too.  And if you don't think figures at this scale have enough personality, you haven't seen what Copplestone Castings can do:
Copplestone Casting's brilliant hero pack in 10mm.
What figs?
Here’s a question to which there is no final answer.  I can tell you this, though: I was able to pick up almost 20 heroes,  30 orcs, 16 ratmen, 3 bases of rats, a couple of food tables, a sewer beast, fire, pack animals, and a crate of food for less than 25 bucks.  That’s not a bad start.  For the record, I ordered one pack of heros and one pack of bad guys from each of Copplestone Castings and Pendraken Miniatures.  They'll be shipped out from the UK which gives me plenty of time to get started on a dungeon for them to guard and loot.
What dungeon?
That's the fun of this whole project.  I'm looking at all the various and sundry ways of building a 10mm dungeon from print your own to pre-cast walls and floors, and none of them look like as much fun as scratchbuilding my own.  At this point I'm still browsing the craft stores and kitchen drawers to see what looks cheap and effective.  At any rate, that's what you can expect from this blog over the next few months.


  1. I'm looking forward to it! I play in 25/28mm, but I'm always happy to see home-made dungeon terrain take shape.

  2. Great choice on the 10mm scale! It's large enough that the models have a good deal of detail, yet also small enough that storage isn't an issue. Also, it's cheaper than 15mm models.

    Also one of the primary reasons I went with 10mm when I came back to the hobby is that you can use rules designed for 25-30mm miniatures by simply replacing inches with centimeters.