One dark November morning, I let myself be manipulated by my friend to start a herculean task. He was organizing some kind of little tournament (I thought) a year later and I volunteered to build him a finals table for that tournament (I might even have muttered the words “a table like you have never seen before” in all my hubris).
That’s when he told me that “the little tournament” was the first ever World Team Championship, hosting 32 national teams from all over the world and that teams of 5 players meant I had to build 5 tables.
That’s also when I remembered I had never even built a complete gaming table before…
So, driven only by sheer self-belief and hubris, I of course accepted the challenge. The first thing I did was pick up my phone and call my good friend Christoph. Now Christoph is my terrain making guru. Some of his previous work includes Contract town 27 and The Zeppelin Docking Tower. He is a terrain making god and I would need all the experience he could bring to the table (please forgive me for this terrible pun).
Together, we set out planning. Putting ideas to paper, thinking up cool ideas. We would need 5 tables, so we needed a lot of ideas. There were a couple of guidelines we gave ourselves for the tables:
- They had to be playable. Cool tables are one thing, but when the terrain gets in the way of gameplay, it defeats the purpose. Especially for such a highly competitive event.
- The tables had to look absolutely stunning (my ego talking once more)
- The terrain had to be big and epic. It’s a huge event, the tables should match that.
- Every table should be completely unique. We wanted 5 completely different tables, not 5 variations on the same theme
- We wanted tables that hadn’t been done before. Cities are very cool, but we didn’t want to make yet another version.
- Every table had to be completely immersed into the Iron Kingdoms background and fluff.
- We wanted to give a comprehensive image of the entirety Immoren. So tables ranging from the freezing north to the searing south and everything in between.
- Following the guidelines above: we wanted a theme spread between Hordes and Warmachine as even as possible.
- The tables had to be fast to build. We only had 10 months for 5 tables.
- There had to be cake afterwards. We do just about anything for cake.
Now there was only one problem left: Warmachine/Hordes tables are usually very… well, boring. Especially in a competitive environment, you are very limited in what you can put on a battlefield. 4-5 pieces of terrain are not much to build a story (and the best tables always tell a story). So after a lot of thinking, we decided on a nifty system where we would divide every table in a central gaming area (clean and easy to play on) and 2 side-boards, where we could really go crazy. With the proper placement of scatter terrain, we hoped to tie everything together to create cool tables.
So here we have the final concepts we agreed upon:
A lone, Khador Warjack factory. Lying in snow-covered territories, on one side of the board is the factory and on the other side a mountain. The 2 connected by tracks for the carts that transport the ore mined in the mountain to the factory. This had to be an inhospitable, snow-covered table, giving the feeling that it could serve both for Khador and for Legion. With the warjack factory as the only piece of civilization, waiting to be assaulted by a Legion raiding party.
A Tharn tree village. A green table, from the heart of the Thornwood forest. A clearing in the middle of a forest, with gigantic waystones surrounding a sacrificial dais. Around the clearing, huge trees, where Tharn have built themselves a village in the trees, to be safe from the wild beasts roaming the forests.
An underground Cryx Necrofactorium and necrotite distillery. A cave that is filled with pipes, furnaces and inevitably rivers and pits of green goooo (it’s creepier if you write it with more o’s). Stone and metal constructions built into the walls themselves, giving a result where you can’t tell where the cave begins and the Cryx constructions end. A very industrial and cold look, where you expect Cryxian minions to come crawling from every nook or cranny.
Cathedral of Menoth
A Menoth Cathedral building site. Half-completed towers and walls, with the ground-floor tiling already laid out. Wooden construction towers, stacks of bricks and blocks of stone. All of this set into a blistering, yellow desert. Wooden scaffolding, packs of building materials. This table has to radiate heat and the sweat and blood of the slaves building the cathedral.
A Skorne siege. Impregnable Skorne fortress walls on one side of the table, with some of the buildings of the fortress behind them. An open field in front of them, scattered with gigantic bones from long-lost war animals sticking from the ground. Broken siege engines and abandoned weapons, scattered on the red wasteland. Broken earth, ravines and a lone (probably burned-out) watchtower on the other end of the table.
So with that in mind, we are building right now.Two tables have been finished already: The Khador ’Jack Factory and the Circle Tree Village. We are currently working on the Cryxian Necrofactorium and the Menoth building site. Expect to see more work in progress here soon.