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Newsletter Sneak Peak
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TOPIC: Newsletter Sneak Peak
#26953
Newsletter Sneak Peak 6 Years, 9 Months ago  
OK, now I have a FEW minutes to breathe (stupid law school!) and I wanted to post something more substantial about the new set.

I really, really, really love the modularity of these elements. This seems to be the first "wicked"-style set that gives us pieces that are not only cool decorative elements, but decorative elements that themselves can be combined in various ways as almost building-elements in themselves. There are just so many ways to mix-n-match these guys to make completely different kinds of uses for them!

The "ledges" are fantastic for ending a cavern without a wall, which is really useful given the observations people have made regarding the challenge in "closing out" some of the water sets. Granted, these won't help with lake elements (though, mental note for DF -- consider similar elements that are "waterfall" edges that can be placed alongside water pieces in lieu of "closing out" the water) but they WILL leave us with more modular walls, since we won't HAVE to encompass an entire cavernous layout with walls any more. We can just choose to end things at a drop-off....

I also love using them to make more seamless stacking for caverns, which to be fair is probably their coolest use. The "pit" effect still gives me goosebumps, but really any and all stacking will look tons better with these guys. Very great pieces.

Love the raised platforms and so on, of course. The stalagmites are gorgeous. Those are more basic, pure-decorative pieces of course, though they can be combined with each other to make all kinds of funky cavernous "landmarks," which is neat.

I really love all the stair elements, and the way they can be used to make bridges. Cavernous bridges over river elements seem like the coolest thing in the world to me now, and possibly the only thing DF caverns were really missing. Just outstanding.

And the one thing that's so easy to overlook but may be the coolest thing in the set - the floor "filler" for the cavernous corners! That's something I haven't really thought about, beyond the vague recognition that those sorts of things (along with "corridor" fillers) would be great in general. But this really makes the set outstandingly useful, it just makes so much else POSSIBLE now. To be able to close out caverns WITHIN caverns, to use the cool rounded cavern walls inside a layout instead of just along the edges... wow, that's gonna be great. If I have a complaint, it's that the set only includes 2, when 4 would be really more fair. I ordered two sets, so I suppose it won't affect me as much, but still... it seems like 2 is just such a tease, esp. for such a small, easy to fit in the box, easy to produce piece. Really useful, really welcome addition.

Two final observations:

1. Again, even more so, I'm struck by how much the recent contest was a kind of "swan song" for the old, soon-to-be-outdated way of doing things with DF. First we had a series of photos of a DF tavern without any of the DF tavern elements which are now enshrined as The Coolest and Easiest Way to Make a DF Tavern and then we have a series of DF cavern setups which will by mid-summer be utterly stone-age (see what I did there?) because all the great chasms and bridges and ledges will be missing. As a way of getting people excited about the right "genre" these contests are a great promotional tool, but as archives of "what can be done with DF" they're sadly out-of-date within months.

2. I think now, for the first time, might be the right time to consider making cavern pieces with higher walls. Stacking is all well and good, but looking at how cool these new pieces are, and how "organic," it seems that stacking a curved modular wall onto a traditional cavern corner just won't look "right" next to all these goodies. And it won't be very stable, either. No, I think we need a small High Cavern Set with like 5 elements, two of each in a set of 10, that gives us 2 cavern corners, 2 straight cavern walls, and maybe 1 funky variant corner or wall, each of which has a wall twice as high as the regular pieces, so about four inches high. More detail, more elaborate sculpting would be possible, and it would serve as a more natural-looking, funkier "backdrop" for all the bridges and stacked pieces on the "inside" of the cavern. Sure, we can always do what the promo pics do, and simply have a kind of tiered layout -- but I like the idea of having some "deep" pieces, too, not just a regular cavern piece that's placed two inches higher than the one next to it, but a regular cavern piece on the table that has a wall that reaches up and up and up. Not only would it be a cool "frame" for the setup, it would also be a great way of clearly marking out the vast expansive chambres that players can discover, a really effective visual cue that this given space is MASSIVE... and DEEP. It couldn't be overused, of course, because it would interfere with gameplay -- but used as a "back wall" or simply used sparsely, I think it could be remarkably fun, esp. now that caverns "are going vertical." Just a thought. Anyone else see things this way?

L
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#26954
Newsletter Sneak Peak 6 Years, 9 Months ago  
I don't favor the higher walls idea, but I also don't favor stacking. Dwarven Forge is a gaming accessory, not a diorama kit.

First, I think Stefan might have reached the limits of elaborate detail in this price range. The more elaborate the sculpt, the more difficult it is going to be to cast. The more detailed, the more effort has to be made to painting. Both of these factors could drive the costs up. (I think -- if someone can speak to this issue and show that I'm wrong, please do! I actually want to be wrong in this particular instance.)

Secondly, I believe that the walls are the height they are because that is about the height of a standard 25-28mm human miniature. If the walls get higher, then a mini against the north wall of a room may be hidden from the players on the north side of the table. And we all know how some players can get when the DM starts rolling dice for minis they didn't see (or forgot about). The practical reason for short walls outweighs the aesthetic reason for tall walls (for me, at least).

Producing something for limited or sparse use isn't economically sound. DF is better off making something that the customer will use a lot.
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#26955
Newsletter Sneak Peak 6 Years, 9 Months ago  
I know where you're coming from, but I think you said it all when you said you also don't favor stacking.

I agree that high walls, as a rule, are a bad idea. They make actually GAMING with the stuff harder -- visibility is reduced, not to mention the fact that you can't actually reach the figures as easily.

But a lot of us do like stacking, and Stefan seems to really get a kick out of what some people have pulled off. The new set seems specifically designed to take caverns in a more "diorama" direction, and I was just thinking that higher walls would be a neat continuation of that. I'd never want ALL the walls to be high, but I think 5-10 walls, to set off a particular chamber or to have a "back wall" backdrop against a smaller layout (with gamers on 3 sides of the table instead of 4) could make some cool stuff possible.

But, you know, just an idea.

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

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#26956
Newsletter Sneak Peak 6 Years, 9 Months ago  
No one is upset that the new sets will be diff " minus bow ties " then all the other sets you have collected? Is just my blood pressure going through the roof about this? I guess it was not enough that WOTC changed the scale in mid game of the A&A mini's I use but now this. I am truly glad that many of you look to this as positive and I hope to be enlightened as to why this is a good thing. The cavern set looks great BTW.
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#26957
Newsletter Sneak Peak 6 Years, 9 Months ago  
Can't say I'm rightly upset with the new sets. I don't use my bowties anyway and usually in my set ups, the spaces for the bowties are just left vacant. Most of the group seem to be able to 'overlook' the inconsistency there. Better that they criticize the poor paintjob on my minis :)

WIth the new sets having no bowties, it will just push DF in the direction that it has been heading in anway. (MBS doesn't have any bowties)

Why would it be a bad thing? I guess it would highlight the difference between the older sets and the new sets. Is it a problem for me? Not really since I leave the bowties spaces vacant anyway, so newer sets just helps in that direction. Does it bother me having a difference between old and new sets? Yes in a small way due to the lack of conformity between new and old sets. But generally, the answer would be not as much, as there will be a sense of history, seeing where DF has come from and where it is going still :)

Guess I can see where you are coming from. Not sure if there is any answers to help your situation though, apart from a lot of hard work filling in the spaces?
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#26958
Newsletter Sneak Peak 6 Years, 9 Months ago  
I know what you mean, WW, but I think this was slightly different from WOTC's actions in a key way: DF only did this because of perceived overwhelming demand (which may have been CORRECTLY perceived, to boot). WOTC made an arbitrary decision and then didn't keep to it -- Stefan liked the bowties and thought they were useful, and was surprised to discover a preference against them. So after a long time, and listening to a lot of people, he made a decision he thought the fans would appreciate.

I agree that having sets that don't "work" with new sets is frustrating -- I think it will feel frustrating to buy sets I already own just to get "bowtieless" sets, and to then have to decide what to do with the older ones I have. Keep them and never use them? Try to sell them?

Personally, I'm gonna try a compromise. I don't mind having SOME bowtie sets, and so some sets that I'm not as crazy about I'll just live with. Other, more crucial sets I'll replace. I won't end up with a completely tie-less collection, since I have FAR too much to consider replacing all of it. But I could at least pick up a few small things so that if I want a smaller layout, I have that option -- or if I only need a few dungeon elements to place alongside my MBS or DOE stuff.

It's a standard problem for a hobby like this -- when an improvement exists, do you keep the old way anyway just for the sake of consistency, or do you improve and risk alienating all those who are stuck with outdated stuff? I'm sure that you, like me, are already sick of the question in the light of D&D 4E. I think Stefan had only the best intentions here, though, and the decision is one that most people probably do appreciate.

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

-- F. Nietzsche
 
#26959
Newsletter Sneak Peak 6 Years, 9 Months ago  
My thoughts, for what they're worth. Not trying to start any arguments, just thinking my opinions out loud:

I LOVE the plan for bowtie-less sets. I don't ever use the bowties. I also plan to replace most of my sets with the new sets, even though 1 month ago I had 0 sets, and now I have 33 sets.

The only people I could see being against the new sets are people who regularly use the bowties. If you don't, who cares if some pieces have the bowtie divets and some don't? It's not going to look bad to mix & match. In fact, I would guess a mixture of the two would look better than all empty bowtie divets.

For people who love the bowties, there will always be plenty of bowtie sets available for sale on eBay.

I think L said it best about what to do when an improvement exists. Many companies have to make the same decision at some point - do you risk alienating your existing customers to improve your product? I'm nearly always in favor if going forward with the improvements.

Besides, DF's target market with their dungeon sets are not the people who already have a ton of them. Their target market is the people who have yet to buy a ton of sets, so it makes sense to improve the sets to attract those people.

Again, all the above is just my personal opinions. Not trying to attack anyone or say they are wrong. Just saying how I feel. :-)
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#26960
Newsletter Sneak Peak 6 Years, 9 Months ago  
Bowties? No bowties?

Solution: Got Dremel? Got CA glue? got putty?
GOT SOLUTION!

All you need now is time and inclination; IF the bowtie slots bother you that much, then, as time allows, glue the ties in the slots, putty them, sand and paint them, use a cutoff wheel in the Dremel, move along; nothing to see here anyway!
IF the bowtie slots don't bother you, then you're not reading this anyway, are you?

WHERE'S the problem? Of course, esthetics are probably going to raise their ugly heads and scream bloody murder, but this IS A DUNGEON, GUYS! IT'S a CAVERN! It's SUPPOSED to be NARSTY IN HERE! EEE-VIL things LIVE in HERE! Things like DROW, and MONSTERS, And ORCS, and, and, and - y'know, stuff like that.
Of course, there's also dwarven folk down here, but they're the guys that build the dwarrowdells withOUT bowties, because NO dwarf in his (or HER) right MIND would EVER be caught in a bowtie! YUCK! (Sorry, Stefan; I had to alibi the new design somehow!)

Either KEEP the bowties, sell all of them and buy NEW, or fill in the bowtie slots; those are your choices.
WHY fight over it?

Let's fight over something WORTH fighting over, such as why the Ravens keep losing to second- and third-rate teams this year?
Or why Harry Potter can't get his hair to stay put?
Or how to get a Nash Metropolitan out of Second Gear when passing a Cadillac at 90 miles an hour?
Or who put the Tribbles in the Quadrotriticale?

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Jim
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#26961
Newsletter Sneak Peak 6 Years, 9 Months ago  
Just another opinion!

I like the no bowtie thing. I was going to convert all my existing things over at any rate some day so this will just speed me along n that regard.

Of course I'll wait to see exactly what the "half bow tie" things will look like. Yes I know they probably will look like a bow tie cut in half...but just want to see them for sure.

For me it might just be easier to use green stuff or some other putty / epoxy than doing up the half bow ties. Although if I do both it probably would mean less green stuff.

Any ways here is a vote of good job of the dropping the bow ties. Which is just an opinion.

Sean
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#26962
Newsletter Sneak Peak 6 Years, 9 Months ago  
Though I like the idea of sets with no bowties, I do on occasion use them, particularly for triangle walls, those pieces don't stay in place well and are prone to fall down. I'll also use them on a multi-level dungeon to keep everything together. I use them most for decor, cave-ins, uneven cavern floors, a trap ceiling that collaspes.

The new set looks incredible...'honey I know what I want for Christmas!'
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#26963
Newsletter Sneak Peak 6 Years, 9 Months ago  
Hello Everyone,

Great to hear all the feedback here....it seems almost all of you are happy about the upgrade:)

I do believe it is a considerable improvement visually.

On the other hand, for those of you who are happy with the old design I see no reason to dismay...please continue to use your bow ties!...especially if you have 10, 20 or more "vintage" style sets... I see no reason to trash them or sell them off.

Why not consider using them as always? When new DF Sets come out without bow ties you will be able to use the half bow tie's to fill in the "half" gaps that will occur when old meets new...therefore nothing much will change.

This is probably how I will go about it myself, as I have always been a "bow tie" user. For some reason I have always enjoyed "locking" the pieces together...but then again, I have more patience then most. Also, I have never taken my collection to a convention where time is of the essence...in that case, I would probably welcome having "bow tie less" sets on hand. Maybe having a few BTLess sets just for traveling might be one idea I would consider.

Finaly, If you really are a fan of the original BT style, now is the time to "stock up" as we have a huge sale on the vintage style sets! we want to clear them out in order to streamline our design for future mastermaze "rookies" Don't want them to be confused as to why there are two styles of design after all...

Thank you everyone for sticking with us all these years! I really do feel that this is a change for the better BUT that it doesn't hurt or render obsolete anyone's existing collection. My philosophy will always be that If something can be improved we will try to improve it. We have done so numerous times in the past and will always strive towards refinement and "perfection" rather than settle for the easier or safer road.

This is not just a job for us. This is our fantasy, our art, and our dreams...we take pride in what we do, and if we were no longer pushing the envelope and having fun creating the things we dream about having, then it would be time to hang up the hat!

2008 is going to be a great and exciting year! And of course, it's entirely because of you guys, the Collectors and Masters!

What a great CLAN we have here! Passionate and Creative from all over the Globe!

Thank you all!!

Sincerely,
Stefan
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#26964
Newsletter Sneak Peak 6 Years, 9 Months ago  
Viva DF!!!!!

(now i just need a seperate HOUSE to store my new sets in!!!)
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Champion of the 6" DOE Hallway!VINDICATION!~!

NASCRAG Champions 2011!
 
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