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DF and 'outdoors' product line
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TOPIC: DF and 'outdoors' product line
DF and 'outdoors' product line 8 Years, 10 Months ago  
I know that the issue of whether or not DF should venture into the great outdoors has been discussed on and off in short bursts on several threads, but I would like to raise it again to see what the 'consensus' is.

Our small gaming group has only started to get into DF over the last couple of years but we use it all the time now. Several of us are wargamers as well as roleplayers and we sometimes use our wargaming boards and terrain (and measure, rather than use grids) to role play combats when the adventure spills out of the dungeon. The release of the DoE and the rumours about a possible fantasy inn (if true) will enable us to extend our use of DF into the 'non dungeon' indoors. We all agreed that if DF made outdoor pieces, we would use them too!

An idea we discussed was that, rather than making strictly modular terrain (as has been previously pointed out, most people can't afford to buy enough pieces to cover every inch of a 4 foot by 4 foot 'outdoor' playing area grid). Could each piece be planned as a "stand alone" plonk down (technical term) piece. The edges could be bevelled and users could scatter or group the pieces according to the effect they were trying to create.

e.g. The 'Haunted Forest' outdoor theme boxed set might include:
4 different 'clumps' of trees with associated undergrowth pieces
A small cairn entrance partially hidden under a leaf strewn mound piece
A "little people" circle of mushrooms piece
A carniverous tree with scattered bones and a boot/leaves on its base piece

You get the idea. lots of possible 'one off' sets could be made. The essential difference would be that DF would not be making floor sections. The advantage of this approach would be that it might appeal to wargamers as well as roleplayers and it would be extremely versatile. For the people who prefer to use grids rather than measure, commercially available mats with grids on could be used as the de-facto 'floor.'

What do you guys think?

David Wasilewski
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DF and 'outdoors' product line 8 Years, 10 Months ago  
Dave -

I hate to be a curmudgeon, or any other kind of 'knocker', but there are MANY companies making FINE gaming structures, medieval, modern, futuristic, Egyptian, and (I think) some others, as well. They are almost all doing a good job at reasonable prices. In fact, MOST of the really GOOD ones are right there in the UK! Especially since Armorcast stopped doing their buildings.

On the other hand, there is only ONE DF, they do an INCREDIBLY EXCELLENT line of fantasy, underground cavern, and sci-fi interiors, with plans for more, different ones in the pipeline. WHY in the world would you want to screw up a good thing by having Jeff and Stefan & Co. diversify, spread themselves too thinly, and probably kill our favorite golden goose?

I completely understand your reasoning; single-source, high quality, fair pricing (if it weren't for taxes and transport fees, the UK would grab every DF piece that the company can get out of China!); it seems a perfect opportunity to have your cake and eat it too.

NOT!!! Trying to push DF into the structures field will do nothing more than kill them just at the critical cusp, when Jeff is holding the company together so Stefan can produce his museum-quality sculptures for our gaming pleasure.

I know your suggestion was NOT from malice, and I hope I haven't come across as being so, either. But there is a valid reason for almost all of us here on the forum doing our best to drive a large hickory stake through that idea's heart, before it takes root and grows (how's THAT for mixed metaphors?).

Patronize those WONDERFUL British manufacturers for your outdoor buildings, and keep on coming back to DF for the finest indoor/underground terrain EVER!! Because that's what all of us on this side of the big drink do.

See ya!

Minotaur Lord
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Jim Kratzer, a/k/a The Mad Yank
Proud Vietnam Veteran, LOUD VFW Lifer
insane GM
DF and 'outdoors' product line 8 Years, 10 Months ago  
if DF were to expand into these sorts of sets one thing i would love to see would be upper plaster & timber walls with wood floors that could easily stack on top of the fieldstone pieces. then roofs as well. then our fieldstone DF would become the bottom of a stone and half timbered house. i'm not holding my breath, but it'd be rad.

i really should just stop being lazy and make some outta foamcore.
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DF and 'outdoors' product line 8 Years, 10 Months ago  
I, too, am reluctant to see DF branching out at this point in time.

Last year ArmorCast stopped producing everything except for their WarHammer and Battletech lines. Their very high quality terrain is no longer available. It is my opinion that one of the reasons they had insufficient sales for these lines (which included L5R and Egyptian specialty pieces) was that they had insufficient range within styles -- you just couldn't build enough different variations of one genre to make buying them worthwhile for the average gamer.

DF is currently producing three lines of modular architectural tiles and walls, and they are still (in my opinion) working on "completing" those lines. While the basic elements are in place for each style (Dungeon, Cavernous, and Sci Fi), there are various specialty pieces (sub-lines) that would expand the range and versatility of their lines to make them almost universally appealing. For example, I am sure there are some GMs who will be buying DF for the first time now that Cavernous Rivers will be available and Cavernous Lakes are on the way. While DF cannot possibly cover every possible need/desire, they can produce a wide enough selection in each line that a significant majority of the terrain-buying market will turn to them for their gaming needs. Every sub-line that attracts more customers sells not only itself, but the "core" sets as well.

Every time DF produces pieces in a new style, they are introducing a new line. The brilliant thing about the two Fantasy lines is that they are fully compatible, so they are mutually supporting in the marketplace. A customer who buys the Dungeon line is more likely to buy the Cavernous line (and vice versa) because they have ready-made pieces to connect the two styles. Any new line that does not interconnect with another existing line must stand alone in the market.

A major new line (or compatible limited-run sets like Den of Evil) might be better handled by creating a new development and design team alongside the existing crew. It would almost be like having two companies working on cross-compatible, fully licensed products. And the "second company" would have the advantage of already having the processes and contacts in place to move their designs quickly into production. Alas, I have no idea how the finances of such a scheme would play out, so it may be completely untenable.


As for an Outdoor line, I am a little confused about what people mean by that. We seem to be talking about lots of different things. One person's idea is for "ground" tiles with trees or other natural features, while another seems to want buildings without ground tiles, and a third is talking about modular wooden architectural tiles that might stack on top of the existing Dungeon line. Any of these ideas is worth its own thread, but I still think that we should, for now, encourage the good people at DF to stick to their current lines and their very solid market niche.
Minotaur Lord
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DF and 'outdoors' product line 8 Years, 10 Months ago  
I honestly feel that if Dwarven Forge branched out into exteriors terrain, the company would self-destruct.
As has been said several times here, there are good companies out there that produce perfectly good lines of exterior terrain.
Dwarven Forge has no need to compete in areas outside of their speciality which is interiors.
Granted, their terrain can be used for exteriors for wargaming with a bit of imagination, but that is supplied by the gamer and does not cost the company any money.

So my vote for exterior terrain by Dwarven Forge can be summed up - [i][b]NO!![/i][/b]
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SF: Starter(3), Passage(2), Alpha(7), Beta(2) someday soon;
Cavern: Cavern, Cavernous Passages, many individual pieces, Cavernous River & Wall and Cavernous Lake someday soon;
Fantasy: Room & Passages, Room, Octagonal Room, Wicked Additions I&II, Adv. Builder, Diagonal Walls Set, Dungeon Accessories, Medieval Furniture, many individual pieces.
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