Dice tower

Several years ago my brother gave me a kit to build a dice tower out of laser-cut plywood.  It was made by the company “Flying Tricycle” and based on the fact that their old URL has been hijacked by some squatters advertising divorce attorneys, I think they may be out of business.  Noble Knight seems to have last stocked their stuff in 2008, so it looks grim.  That’s too bad, I saw some interesting stuff on their web site…I guess the lesson is, you should buy it while it’s for sale!  Here’s a look at the kit unboxed.

Anyway my tower was pretty easy to put together and painted up nicely.

They managed to get quite a bit of detail in the laser engraving, as you can see with the wood grain on the ‘drawbridge’.

The tower is maybe 5 or 6 inches tall, and looks pretty good as terrain.  Here’s a shot of the drawbridge drawer open:

There’s an opening up top that you drop the dice down, and they bounce off some planks inside the tower to land in the drawer.

Oddly enough I almost never use it.  I think it would be a good thing for wargames like HOTT that just use a pair of dice, or for situations where there are tons of minis of the table and rolling space is at a premium.  I tend not to roll behind a screen as DM, but I guess if I did it would also help contain the dice from rolling away.  Does anyone use dice towers regularly?  How about a simple tray — I’ve seen some nice ones and would be tempted to make one for myself some time.

Published in: on April 6, 2012 at 8:00 am  Comments (4)  
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That’s Weird Lisa…

A couple of weeks ago we had a joint birthday party for myself and my dad, and so Riley and three of her cousins entertained themselves by playing with my toys in the basement while the grownups talked after dinner.  At first, it was a little hairy because Quinn & Riley wanted to play “Ships & Ships,” a game Cameron devised which involved gathering things and bringing them to a lighthouse in order to upgrade to a larger ship, all the while fighting sea monsters and merpeople. They played that for hours the last time my Man-o-War stuff was out, but Cameron did not feel like refereeing that and Quinn came close to a meltdown.  But in the end Cameron acquiesced and they played it for a while; a little later they put away all the ships and switched to setting up a village using all my terrain and townsfolk, plus a few monsters.

The village

The each had their own houses…

Riley’s house … she was the witch with a cat

Quinn’s house … no surprise he’s the one with a sword!

They told me a little bit about all the characters and places, but I didn’t catch all of it.

This must be the watering hole

Some farms…

These were the ‘farmerboys’

More famers. These were the only guys who like…

…the “mean girl”

I dunno. She looks pretty nice.

The king was in a castle.

It’s good to be the king.

For some reason the blacksmith had a tower too.

Aw lookout… this guy’s up to no good.

They also introduced one scary girl as “Weird Lisa”

No, not a reference to Riley’s Aunt Lisa, although she is weird too.

Did not ask why the apothecary is a smoking dwarf, but it fits.

Smoking will stunt your growth, you know.

Some dude singing in the ruined church…

After that they asked for cardboard to build their own buildings, and Parker & Cameron also made a few fairies out of crafting scraps to inhabit the unfinished houses.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

Waste not want not.

It was getting pretty late by then, and we didn’t have time to assemble their fairy houses.

The younger kids were getting along so well they petitioned for an impromptu sleepover. I am not so sure Cameron was as interested in that but again she took one for the team. I have no idea how late they stayed up, but the younger kids were all up by 7:30 or 8, and after pancakes we played some more. Riley and Quinn built a dungeon using components from Descent and guarded it against my monsters with a few characters, in a kind of ‘reverse dungeon’. Then we played a game of Zombies!!! at Quinn’s request. I left out the cards since he & Riley can’t really read that well and the pictures on the cards are kind of frightening. Quinn was zombie-killing machine!

Super glue for two broken Man o War ships … 99 cents

Cleaning up the table, putting things away, and sweeping … 1 hour

Gettin’ my nerd on with the kids … Priceless!

Published in: on January 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm  Comments (5)  
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Quick terrain project: walls

I’ve used a lot of different things to make linear obstacles for wargames and D&D minis.  Some old “Castellos” building blocks as walls, model railroader lichen for hedges, and so on.  But with a score or more CDs sitting around, I decided to finally build some walls out of pebbles.

1. Glue pebbles to a CD.

2. Paint CD green.

3. Paint a layer of  watered down “white glue” (PVA) on top of the dry paint.

4. Dip in flock (I mixed a a couple of colors and added about 1 teabag worth of tea to about 2 cups of flock), and tap lightly when dry to let excess fall off.


I made two of these.  I should probably add some more stuff like weeds, rocks, mud, etc. to make the bases a little less boring.  You could also paint your rocks if you want but these were pretty nice looking as they were, and being a bunch of different colors, while unrealistic, makes them more fantastic.

Published in: on October 27, 2011 at 8:19 pm  Comments (9)  

I should do more outdoor adventures

A village built next to ruins on a 4x6' table

Since I’ve got six players in my D&D game and it was getting hard to fit around the table, I set up my 6’x4′ plywood sheet on top of the gaming table (an old dining room table) to increase the space. But minis abhor a vacuum so Saturday night I decided to set up my ground cloth and bunch of terrain just for kicks. I’d been thinking about using all my ent/treant/tree monster minis in part of a larger woods set up anyway and the end result is above and below.

The ruins are from the Games Workshop LotR games, as well as the first Heroscape set, and the ruined church is from a White Dwarf magazine. I wonder if they put free card stock terrain in the magazine these days.

The fields were made for war gaming terrain, but are large enough to still represent a reasonable garden patch or the edge of a farm. The rows of fencing are also from “Battlemasters” and I use them to represent cultivated grape vines.

The graveyard (which really ought to be nearer the ruins and church) are a combination of things, including some lego-like castle blocks, Halloween village tombstones, and the sarcophagi and statues I posted last week.

Here’s a slightly better picture you can click to see more detail. (A few things are already out of place as my five year old was naturally fascinated with the whole thing.)

A shot from the side. Click to enlarge greatly.

The buildings are mostly from the old Games Workshop Warhammer set “Terror of the Lichemaster,” which was designed for a set of skirmishes leading to small battle for the town.

The haunted woods.

The woods contain all my treemen minis, as well as most of my pine trees and deciduous trees. My daughter really enjoyed searching for the “monster trees.”

The keep is constructed from parts of a toy castle and various bits of cardboard and plaster all attached to a tower from the Milton Bradley “Battlemasters” game.

The Donjon.

The gatehouse, lightly fortified.

The gatehouse to the village has no supporting walls, so I placed some stakes and mantlets nearby to suggest it has been hastily fortified. The buildings will have to serve as part of the defenses of the town.

My daughter Riley couldn’t wait to try out the set-up, but she told her mom that she was afraid she’d break my figures (I guess I really drilled into her how fragile they are). She brought one of her fairy action figures and we selected a number of plastic D&D figures to fill out the the complement of characters and monsters.

"Can I play?"

I set up a mine entrance on one of the hills and laid out a dungeon made of tiles and bits from the Heroscape set for doors, and we played various adventures for at least an hour and a half. She even helped pick up, and really enjoyed that because she got to examine everything more closely.

I took a bunch of pictures during the game but they are currently trapped on my new phone, which does not have an easy way to transfer files to a computer. Maybe I’ll post them later — by the time we were done, the board was covered with stuff.

Maybe next time we’ll use dice too.

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 9:02 am  Comments (3)  
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