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TOPIC: Very interested ... looking for advice...
#20380
Very interested ... looking for advice... 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
Ok, I'm very intrigued and interested in getting in to Dwarven Forge products. But, I have some reservations before I jump in and spend a ton of cash.

1. It seems that to really have enough to get going you need to buy a lot of sets. I'm thinking it seems like $1000 - $2000 worth to get going. So this would be a large investment for gaming. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

2. How useable is it really? I know if looks awesome and the setups would be fun to do. But, what about real usability? I run almost all premade modules and adventures. How well will the pieces work out? I'm especially worried about the caverns and such. Sure, square rooms will work but what about all the odd shaped caverns?

3. What about set up? Do you set up encounters and build them as you go? Or, setup a bunch and cover them with something for fog of war? How quick can you setup rooms and passages as you go during an actual session? Because I don't think even on my 4x8 table I could map out all of the places we go. What if the PCs go the "wrong" way and I need to build on the fly?

4. I've been printing out tiles and using some of the WOTC tiles, plus straight up dry-erase on tact-tiles and flip-mats. Is it truly worth the investment over these type of solutions?

I really love the idea of more props and the visual appeal when we game. I’m not afraid to spend the cash, but I don’t want to waste it either. I want the game sessions to run smooth and efficient while still being cool to look at.

Thanks a lot for the help. And, no matter what I do I think the DF stuff looks just amazing. :)

-Jordan “AstroCat”
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#20381
Very interested ... looking for advice... 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
well... as for how useable it is in a given game group, it's totally a case by case thing. some DM/group styles just won't work well, wheras with others it fits in nicely. as for setups and building on the fly, a lot of that's up to you... some people build the whole big thing at once, others on the fly, some even bring it out only for encounters and the like, leaving exploration of empty corridors and rooms to the imagination... like "you step through from the corridor doorway into a large room. the room you've blindly entered seems to be a camp area for a small band of orcs, one of which looks up from counting his ill gotten gold and shouts an alarm upon seeing you... roll for initiative" *out comes either a pre built room or one is made on the fly, maybe a short section of the corridor the PCs have just entered from as well, put minis down and game on*

in fact, that half/half method i mentioned of bringing out the rooms for encounters works rather well if you're just starting to pick up DF sets and want to give it a try without sinking lots into it to start. get a couple starters or a room and passage set, and give it a trial run under those conditions.
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19 SF starters, 4 SF alpha, 6 SF passage sets, 3 SF Beta, 36 SF 6" walls, 6 DoE, 6 Cavern sets, 3 CR&W, 2 lake, 2 cavernous passages, 3 MBS
 
#20382
Very interested ... looking for advice... 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
AstroCat to answer your questions by there points.

1. Amount
You can run games very well with out a large investment in DF, the only thing that the $1K-2K gives you over just getting just $100 to $200 is how much you can set up at a time. I have about yes $1K in Sci fi but in pure Fantasy we have far less, 1 Room & Passage Set and a Deluxe Room Set, and a set that would go for about $30 now but is out of production. We have been running D&D with it for over a year with no complaints from the DM or Players. The difference is that you set up the room they are in instead of setting up the whole entire dungeon. And while the $300 or so maybe a decent investment, think of how much money you are putting into minis, and or books, and other acceseries, the DF is well worth it. The Fantasy stuff we are using is over three years old, and looks as good as the stuff we just bought. $300 over 3 years is nothing, you just slowly add what you want.

2. Usability
I am currently running a completly canned module/adventure The Savage Tide from Dungeon which has pre-made maps and while you can't completly recreate some of the things excatly, you can do a darn good job of facking it.
Compair the pictures from here Savage Tide with DF to the actual maps from the magazine here, it's a pdf file of the maps from the adventure. And see for your self how closely you can match stuff up.
Unfortunitly i don't have the pictures from Parrot Isle but the Tile master system is up.

3. Set Up
This is some what dictated by how much you have, with my Sci-Fi (Star Wars games) where i have yeah over $1K of stuff i set up a huge complex, and cover over, or fill in bits as they go in (in some cases with this and downloading the maps to data pads i don't bother covering too much becuase they quickly get the full set up/maps and it doesn't matter). I just drop the Baddies and some extra bits in when the PC's enter the room, or some how get a look into it (activate Secruity cameras etc).
If you are more limited, which we are in fantasy at the moment, yes i set up small areas as they are running through them, with the Lotus Dragon Guild in the Adventure path i set up to my left many of the passage and room pieces, and rearanged the items in front of me/the players as they went into new areas. I won't lie that there is a learning curve to setting things up and when i first started doing it, it could take upwards of 10-15 minutes to get a decent sized encounter area set up, but as you go along and get more experince I now look at the pre-made maps and see them in "DF" and i know okay that will take a X corners, and walls to make. So i can set up a room in 2-5 minutes depending on how complex it is, and if i have the needed bits at hand. Which i have found can be faster than drawing some maps on a Chessex or other type dry erase board.

4. Worth
I honestly can't answer this one, that is a subjective question that you will have to decide for your self.
I can give you my opinions since i have done Card tiles, like the WotC skirmish and the new stuff, Skeleton Key games, and World Works Games 2.5D stuff, even fully 3D card stock models from WWG and Ebbles Miniatures and Stone Edges. And it comes down to for me that extra dimminsion is really cool. The flat Card things i have to say leave me flat. When i was GM'ing SW and playing in D&D game where the DM was using a chessex mat, some of the immersion of getting into the setting wasn't there. With him walking into a tavern and it just being a blank room with rudimentary line walls, and a few drawn in tables and bar were nothing compaired to the full 3D Cantina's that the players went into in SW where you can put the mini on the table, or under it, flip the tables over so they can get cover behind it, etc. The fully 3D effect, just looks cooler, and for me since you can have these things for YEARS, makes it worth it.
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More Sci Fi Please, request a DEAD END for Sci Fi Passages
Classes of the Old Republic
Some RPG and mini stats including the Exodus and AAT (along with good source of a Mini scale version of the AAT).
 
#20383
Very interested ... looking for advice... 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
AstroCat,
You can get a pretty good feel for how useful DF is without purchasing that much. If you live in the Bay Area, you could join my group for a session and see for yourself. Or go to a gaming convention - seems like there is always lots of DF at Cons these days. Or buy just one room set. You can always sell it on eBay if it turns out you don't like it (although I can't imagine how that would be).
I use both methods you described for setups - build on the fly and pre-build with a cover. I also pre-build on a piece of foam board, then move the foam board into place. This works especially well with multi-floor setups. Building on the fly works great as long as you are organized and don't need to hunt for pieces.
I use pre-made modules all the time, and I've never had a problem getting the map I want. I will say that I don't mind if the DF isn't EXACTLY like the pre-made map. In the cool photos section of this forum, you'll find photos of all kinds of different setups, including many classic modules, and frequently including a setup from the latest Dungeon issue. People seem endlessly creative - boggles the mind, or at least boggles my mind.
Lastly, I had been trying to build 3-D scenery with pdf kits when I purchased my first DF set. Like you, I was concerned about the price tag vs. usability. Like you, I had been using dry erase on flip-mats, but wanted to add more dimensionality. I really hesitated before buying the first set, but the cardboard scenery just didn't do the trick - they never looked quite right, and definitely aren't heavy enough. But eventually I did purchase the first set. I've never regretted it.
Cheers,
Bezultek
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#20384
Very interested ... looking for advice... 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
I am probably just going to echo what other people have said, but I'll add my two cents anyway...

First of all, a lot of the appeal of DF is going to depend on your particular group. If you think that they are really going to enjoy playing in an environment that's as detailed as this, then go for it. If they just don't care about terrain, then that's another story...

Second -- setup -- as many people have said, there are lots of ways to do things. Assembling "on the fly" is probably a mistake, but having things set up on some kind of base (a flat piece of wood, a small table, whatever) that you can take out when needed, or covering them up with cloth and then unveiling when you need it...all good ideas.

Third -- matching. This is a tough one. If you have particular modules you want to run, particular maps you want to duplicate, you are going to have problems. First, because things won't always match up exactly, and there's no getting around that. Sometimes you can come close, but you probably won't ever get a perfect match, and often you will have to settle for something that may fall somewhat short. It's a lot easier to use DF when you aren't bound to a particular map need. Plus, this can affect costs -- you may be missing just a few key pieces, and don't want to get a whole new set to get them, and maybe they aren't available (or in stock) as individual pieces. Eventually, your collection may be so large that this is a nonissue, as any given setup only uses about 30% of what you own. But at first, you'll find yourself using all of it to get a good game going, and your collection will be so small you won't have more than, say, 10 doors, or 5 round corners, or 4 straight corridors, and that won't be enough for you.

Finally, and probably most important -- the cost to get started. This takes up where that last point left off...

You're right that if you want a full map -- and a precise one, which means you'll probably not be lucky enough to have exactly the right pieces, more likely that if you can duplicate a map somewhat accurately it's because you have tons of leftover pieces and have only used a small part of your collection to make it -- you need a lot. $1500 is not an unrealistic expectation.

But you don't need to start with all that. It's like thinking that to play Warhammer you need to get a full se of everything GW makes for two or three armies (every Bretonian piece, every Dark Elf, every Empire set, etc) People sometimes end UP with all that, but they don't get it to start out.

DF can have a huge impact if you use it sparingly at first, when your collection is small. Get a $100 set, maybe two, and use them just for major confrontations at the climactic portions of your sessions. Continue to use paper and cardboard for the bulk of your game, but spice up whatever you think should be the most exciting parts with a switch to DF. Then, over time, you'll acquire more of what you need, and eventually you will be able to put together larger setups. You'll even be able to set up previously existing maps from your favorite mod.

I think anyone who finds DF even remotely tempting is not going to be disappointed by getting at least some of it. If you're worried about money, keep it small at first, and you'll probably get so attached to what you have, you'll find yourself going back to the well as often as you can...!

L
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"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play."

-- F. Nietzsche
 
#20385
Very interested ... looking for advice... 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
Astrocat,
While no where as experienced as most of the posters here, I thought a quick note from a relative newbie to the scene might help. I just got my first sets of Sci Fi starter and DoE.

We have always traditionally gamed with miniatures, but always on a battlemat, with the GM drawing the 'environment' onto the mat to help with combat as well as to help the gamers fill in the blanks in their imagination. The situation worked quite well from a tactical standpoint and everyone was happy with the set up. Like you, I had been looking at the Dwarven Forge stuff for a while, liked the look but worried about the cost for set up and inventory required to make it work.

Finally bit the bullet last month and placed my order. Haven't used the fantasy stuff as of yet because our gaming has moved away from fantasy, but have used the basic sci fi starters. WHen used in conjunction with the battlemat (to represent corridors since I hadn't ordered any) the group was captivated by the new props. The game experience was enriched by more visual imagery (even though we are using odds and sodds like dice for consoles, cardboard cutout furniture, etc). Everyone has commented how much better the gaming experience has been with regards to aiding them picture the game, and one has even asked how we got around before the set. And we by no means have an exhaustive stash of stuff.

The only problem we've noticed is that now we have purchased some, the desire for more is all that much stronger..............

I had originally thought that going into the DF stuff along with Wizards prepainted miniatures was a quick fix and great aid to our gaming experience. BUt this has only gotten the group (myself included) more interested in the props and everyone is digging up their points and models again, dusting off long forgotten skills :)

That's our experience. Hope it helps. Like everyone else says, it's what you make of it, but why not pick up a set or two to get the ball rollling. I'm sure you won't regret it :) We didn't.
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#20386
Very interested ... looking for advice... 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
Hey...

I thought i'd add just one little bit that others have not already stated:

Whats yoru game room like?

If you plan on buying $1500 worth of DF stuff and then keep it all in the boxes, draggin it out of the closet (or worse, draggin it into your car to take to your gaming site!) set-up can be a real drag - though i will say still worth the effort!

However, if you have a dedicated game room where you can "unpack" some (or most) of you DF stuff then set-up and breakdwon will be much less painful.

One last thing - I just jumped in myself and went Caverns Only. So now I have TONS of cavern stuff and can make just about anything. That way i'm not spread thin amongst too many genres...

-JGF
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#20387
Very interested ... looking for advice... 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
Thanks for all the great insight and advice, totally appreciated! I do have a dedicated section of a larger room. We have a 4x8 table that we use that is just for gaming. I don't have tons of extra space, so at the worst things would be in some kind drawer system, or something.
The DF pieces seems like a lot of fun to have, and I don't mind setting it up or building key rooms as we go. I think both ways could be used.

One thing I should mention though, is I don't really have the time or a huge desire to do any extra custom work at this time, meaning like painting additional pieces or building custom parts. I have seen some of the stuff people have done here and its amazing. But, at this point, I am way more in to playing than the painting/building scene.

So, if I do buy a lot of the DF stuff, will it be ok as is without customizing? Or, do most people add to it with other products?

Thanks for the help, very useful. :)
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#20388
Very interested ... looking for advice... 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
I can say with confidence that the custom work is done by an extreme, dedicated, slightly insane minority.

I've been a huge fan of DF for years, and I've done only the smallest customizing -- I just tinted some resin and filled in some of the pits in some cavernous passage pieces to suggest water. And if the cavernous water sets had come out a year earlier, I wouldn't have had to do even THAT.

I'm perfectly, 100% happy with DF as it is -- that, to me, is the whole POINT of DF. If I feel like painting and building, I use Hirst Arts molds. DF's appeal is that it looks fantastic, and is completely ready to use, right out of the box.

I promise that 99.999% of the pics in the Cool Photos section are of DF un-altered in any way . Even the super-elaborate scenarios shown by people like Invincible Overlord are pretty much untainted DF, he just adds a lot of props from other companies and some of his own home-made stuff. But the DF is completely untouched.

L
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#20389
Very interested ... looking for advice... 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
AstroCat

As one of the extreme, dedicated and slightly insane minority - how important is custom build ??

I bought my first DF 5 years ago. I didn't start building anything until earlier this year. You probably want to buy some etxra interior pieces - furniture etc. really spice it up - like an evil altar etc. And nicely painted figures also look a lot better - albeit I have to admit in my group people often tend to play with an unpainted figure. There are rumours I kill them off once they are painted (well - did happen once or twice - pure coindcidence).

So when is custom build useful ??

This crowd here on the board has seen so many stunning layout - therefore it is part of an ego trip to get a wow from one of the old members here. And doing something new can be the way to achieve this.

But if you look at my latest custom build - the sewer system - actually the water is from a tile shop - an you can just use normal rooms to enclose the sewer. I just felt it helps the wow factor.

Thod

PS: If anyone does miss the sewer pictures - I'm just preparing the post. Stay with me for another 10 minutes.
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#20390
Very interested ... looking for advice... 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
Astro,

One of the best features of MM is the fact that you can buy it at 5:00 on Friday night and be using it in a game by 6:00 that night (5:30 if traffic is light). A far as customizing your layouts one of the best/easiest ways to do this is to keep your eyes open for little Nick-knacks (spelling anyone ... was that right?). I found several very small gargoyle statues in one of those incense shops for about a buck each and they work great. Also there are several figures (reaper angles are some that come to mind) that can be painted as stone or bronze quickly and they will make your dungeon look like someone skulks there. The DF pieces are perfect out of the box and once you play with them a bit you will find all sorts of ways to use them besides the standard square room. I forget what the post is called but in the 'cool pictures' section there is a lizard temple that is really points this out.
Good luck with your DF ... you will enjoy it once you start using it and you'll wonder why it took you so long!


Maulhelm
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#20391
Very interested ... looking for advice... 7 Years, 7 Months ago  
I'm one of the original fans of Master Maze, having picked it up since it first came out ten years ago. There's really nothing to compare with it. Hirst Arts molds can make great set ups, but you have to cast them and paint them yourself. That's no small investment of time and effort, but for those that have that time, they're really nice.

Master Maze comes pre-painted and ready to play, right out of the box. It's cast in durable resin, and it's very well painted. The pieces are felt lined on the bottom (a nice touch), and they're awesome for creating the feeling of a dungeon, an underground cavern, or now a medieval building. The Sci-Fi sets are great for players of Star Wars minis or doing Star Wars RPG.

Believe me, once your players get to play in it, they're hooked for life. My own game table is 4' x 8', and it's great for using Master Maze. Your game module maps can always be adapted a little to fit the pieces you have, so don't worry if your map calls for an odd-shaped room that you can't quite make fit.

Do look into the Advanced Builder set when you're planning your purchase. It's one of my favorite sets, because it enhances the versatility of Master Maze for setting up dungeons.

Is it worth it? I've spent over $4000 over the last ten years on it, and I don't regret a single nickel of it.
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Kradlo
Make Mine Master Maze!
 
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