|Valley of the Ape "set pieces."
I have four ample sets of toys for particular games I’ve assembled over the years:
|Running a Star Wars game in Mos Eisley.
The Charioteer’s Tomb: Back when I was developing the Pulp Egypt setting sourcebook I prepared a scenario to showcase the kind of adventure gamers could expect in that genre. While the sourcebook eventually used the generic Any-System Key I developed, I ran (and still run) scenarios for it using the familiar D6 System outlined in D6 Adventure. To attract gamers to the table – and provide some visual appeal for my dealers table – I build an Egyptian tomb complex. It consisted of several chambers: an entry at the bottom of the tomb shaft, several corridors, a central hall, treasury, and the tomb itself. Each chamber could fit onto others using similarly sized doorways, laid out as specified in the scenario map or rearranged in other configurations. Besides 25mm minis for the intrepid archaeological team exploring the tomb, I used a host of other minis and terrain pieces to visually enhance the tombs (and the action): large statues of Anubis guarding one of the doorways, treasure, the sarcophagus, a giant scorpion and cobra, and some wonderful one-inch square minis of swarming scarab beetles (much like those seen in The Mummy). The adventure itself didn’t include much tactical maneuvering around the tomb, but it looked fun and drew people to the gaming table. Granted, I still really should finish the tomb’s surface entrance and make more horseman miniatures (and get a real truck mini) for the chase scene on the road back to Cairo, but the tomb really remains the scenario’s focal point. I still have most of the pieces and minis, so it’s easy to pull out and run, though it all fits in a rather large plastic tub.
|British tanks cooking up on the
Panzer Kids table.
|The Little Guy playtesting
Valley of the Ape.
I’ve talked about “showcase games” before. I love the visual spectacle some games create and really enjoy when I can offer that excitement with others by sharing my own game-related toys. Miniature wargaming conventions excel at vast tables sporting elaborate terrain and hordes of finely painted minis, not simply static dioramas of famous (or speculative) battles, but fully playable games. Even the sight of a single miniature wargame set-up in a board or roleplaying game hall creates a positive impression and enticing attraction. Roleplaying games and even board games benefit from this same spirit of spectacle. Some roleplaying gamers indulge in elaborate layouts, dungeon corridors, or wilderness terrain for their home games and sometimes convention games. Occasionally one finds giant-sized versions of board games at cons, such as Settlers of Catan sets and oversized pieces of King of Tokyo. Occasionally gamers port “battle games” like Memoir ’44 and Command & Colors Napoleonics – which rely on boards, cards, dice, and small, unpainted plastic minis – to larger tabletop set-ups like traditional miniature wargames using terrain and larger painted minis.
Sure, I could bring some boxed board games I love, or my X-wing minis to share, or any of a number of roleplaying games enhanced only by paper handouts. Sometimes I have to settle for the bare minimum depending on the time or travel arrangements. But, like many gamers, I have such wonderful toys it’s only natural I want to share them. I hope in the near future I can find more time, energy, and finances to become more involved in regional conventions so I can pack up the car with toys to share with other gaming enthusiasts in Schweig’s Gaming Roadshow.
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