Sunday, August 29, 2010

Map 14 of 26: The Chemical Plant

Though 14 maps have been finalized, over the years I have popped out dozens that I experimented on or toyed with. There are some locations which just about every mapmaker just has to produce as though the creation of that map is a rite of passage. Two of those locations are a certain vigilante's cave and a nice chemical plant for the creation of his main villain.

Yesterday, at Baltimore Comic-Con I had the privilege to meet Jerry Robinson. He signed a copy of the Batman Archives Vol. 1 for me and as a comic book collector and a lover of DC's prodigal Archive series, this was a great moment and one that I will cherish. So having met the Joker's creator, I felt the need to dust off and clean up a Chemical Plant map I started back around 2005.

Oddly, you'll notice that the elevated catwalk has access steps and ladders on only one side. I like the idea of the map being the third player and forcing its own will upon the game. Here we a place where grounded characters fear to travel hoping they won't be knocked back into an area they can't escape.

You'll notice more orange terrain from me again. I like house ruling an area to have special rules and not forcing feeding my rules onto a player. With these elevated chemical vats, you could just rule them as Water terrain or you could rule them as blocking or you could do what I plan to do and rule that these squares are poisonous and anyone starting in them takes Poison damage.
With that, I'm off to tinker with the next map.
As always, thank you for reading.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Map 13 of 26: The Nightclub

Oh heck yeah, I've hit the half way point. I'm about 2 maps behind but I feel I can hit my personal goal. With Map 13, we're back to beautiful, unsymmetrical, biased maps.

Let's face it... most of us are not kids playing these expensive miniature games. Sure the companies say they are marketing to children, but most players I meet are pushing 30, balding, and single. So we need a man's map and nothing says "manly" more than a Nightclub with dancing girls and poles and couch rooms.

Like the Dark Alley map, I wanted this map to appear as though it's night time. I wanted to invoke the image of Kingpin or Black Mask sitting at a table when Batman or Daredevil came crashing into the bar.

It was a bit of an artistic liberty to put the dancing girl on the map, but I felt the map wouldn't look right without her. None of the gaming companies print bystanders on their maps so I felt this was a unique leap. I toyed with the idea of not making the bar hindering terrain, but in the end I knew this map would see a ton of play from my Batman Ally team and I wanted to maximize the amount of hindering terrain.

I also wanted to make the couch rooms and bathroom fairly disgusting and I think I have succeeded. My girlfriend was personally grossed out by the stain on the couch. That's a sign of success in my book.

As always, let me know what you think. Hopefully I'll have another map up next week.

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Map 12 of 26: The Resurrection Pool

If I was on schedule for completing 26 maps in 52 weeks , then this Wednesday I would be posting Map 15. Well here's Map 12 and 13 should be up in a day or two. Map 14 has a lot of touch up work to finish, and Map 15 is about half done. Anything beyond that is still on graph paper and in the planning stages (except for the 3 part Helicarrier map.)

Brave & the Bold gave us loads of League figures and I felt Ra's deserved a map of his own. I wanted to push the Anubis theme that was so prevalent in the 90's Animated Series. I love the whole look of that show. I also wanted to do a map with a strong Egyptian influence and this was the perfect time to bring that into play.
I also wanted to create a perfectly symmetrical map, where no one side had an advantage over the other. While symmetry is important in tournament play. I personally find it boring to play on continuously. I like a map that forces you into making compromises.
One difficult was trying to come up with a grid color that showed up against the floor tiles I wanted to use without the grid becoming too radioactive. The blue/gray lines hopefully will print well, but this may be a work in progress.

The past few maps have also had special terrain areas. I toyed with the idea that the green pool waters would be Water terrain however I felt the pool deserved its own rules. Feel free to send me suggestions. I'll post them here. I'm leaning towards something hideously broken, like characters on their starting click take D6 damage when starting their turn in the pool while characters not on their starting click heal D6-2 when starting their turn in the pool.

I'll have the next map up in a day or two and put the kids to bed before you check here again. The next map goes NC-17.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First shots of the printed maps! (continued)

First shots of the printed maps!

I was able to get two maps printed: The Dark Alley and Deadly Cargo. They look great. I'm happy with the visual results. If I ever mass print these, I may add a black border around the perimeter of the map. The Deadly Cargo map, I may need to rework back to square one. Visually the map is impressive. However game play wise, the two symmetrical openings to the ship means that most of the games played on it would have very little chance to roam out of the middle of the map. Oddly I'm no great photographer and I couldn't take a decent photo of either map. Either the camera flash was so bright it made the miniatures look radioactive and toned down the maps colors or it was too dark and the map wasn't visible. On the Dark Alley photos, the elevated terrain lines look orange but in reality are quite red. Anyway, here are some low quality shots for you to enjoy.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Map 11 of 26: Asgard!

Man, its August already!?! I need to start ramping up the design production or 26 maps by February 2011 will not be happening. This week, its Asgard time! Good old-fashioned, public-domain Asgard.

Recently one of my loyal supporters posted this comment about my maps...

"A lot of your other maps are very original but sometimes one starting area has a major advantage over the other (WWII, Amazon Island). I'm sure you planned it that way but I wouldn't want those nearly as bad as the two I mentioned."
The beauty of not working by assignment and having complete creative control means that I can create completely unbalanced maps and not need to worry about the promotion of the meta-game. Playing on painfully symmetrical maps becomes tedious for me. I've always felt gaming companies sacrificed scenario play in order to foster a tournament environment.

In a classic defend-the-keep scenario the defenders should have an advantage. When playing around with an Asgard map, the initial designs changed a few times. The first design had less open space and a tree-lined shore for hindering terrain. But that design bothered me. Why would the Asgardians give any quarter to the enemy on their shores? And quickly with that thought I eliminated any hints of hindering terrain.

Don't get me wrong, I love the official Asgard map. It's water heavy with a neat special rules twist. Variety is the spice of life. However, I yearned for that classic Asgard of my youth.

In the next few days, I'll be the biggest hypocrite and give you one of those boring symmetrical maps I was just lamenting.

Until then, thanks for checking out my site.