Insider 7/10/2010

I spend an enormous amount of time drawing the rivets, belt-buckles, straps and bladed edges that make up the Iron Kingdoms.

On occasion, I try to squeeze in the time to paint models, build scenery, or *gasp* play a game of WARMACHINE or HORDES. Unfortunately, with the demands of life, I get to do these things much less often than I used to. But every once in a blue moon I find myself with some free time and an itch that only paint, glue, pewter, and insulation foam can scratch.

Recently, I’ve put the finishing touches on a large chunk of my burgeoning Trollblood army. For reasons I can only describe as neurosis, I have a tendency to enjoy modeling winter themes on the bases of my armies. I guess I just look at a model and my first impulse is to wonder how it would look trampling through the snow. This is probably due to enduring too many winters in the northeastern United States. I own three different armies and every model has snow on its base. Oddly enough, it recently occurred to me I was lacking a dedicated table in an icy tundra theme that I could play my cold-weather armies on.

A week or so ago, I got the unreasonable urge to have a game table for my home. Nothing beats playing a game on your own board in your own place – a comfortable atmosphere, good friends, beverages that workplace insurance usually frowns upon; these are all great reasons to make your own table. So I set out to create a table themed to the armies I play. Using 2” insulation foam painted with white textured paint as a base, I then created some Trollkin abodes and procured some store-bought Holiday tree models. It took me a couple of hours over a few nights, and I was done. Now my Trolls, Circle, and Khador armies had a battlefield they could truly call “home.” Future battles at my place would be on my armies’ turf, and I could look forward to great-looking battles that carried a theme.

I highly encourage everyone to build a theme table at least once in their gaming careers. Tables with a distinct visual presence help give your games context and story. The Iron Kingdoms is more than just game rules and tokens, it is a world waiting to be given form on a tabletop and experienced in the imagination. Recently, Privateer Press’ Hobby Manager Rob Hawkins helped break my winter board in with a game of my Trollbloods vs. his Protectorate. It was a bloodbath that ended in stalemate due to time. It was a murderous battle that was a great first game to grace my new table with. I look forward to more great games for a long time to come.