Sunday 22 March 2009

Solferino in Twenty Minutes – better built-up areas

Having read the feedback given to my entry about the built-up area ‘boxes’ I had made, I decided to try to make an improved version.

My first attempt was to print on both sides of the card so that the inside of the box was not so stark, but I could not get my Inkjet printer to print on both sides of the card with the level of precision that this needed.

My second attempt was to print on coloured card – I chose a buff colour to try to match the colour of the buildings – and whilst it was less stark than the white card still did not look quite right.

One problem that I had with the ‘boxes’ was how intrusive they looked when placed on the playing board. I wondered if cutting the ‘boxes’ on the diagonal might make them less intrusive, and so I tried it. The result looked much better.

I sat down at my computer, and using the desktop publishing programme I had used to design the original ‘boxes’, I manipulated my designs so that I could print a corner unit that had pictures of the relevant buildings (and the name of the built-up area) on the back and front of the two sides of the corner unit. The result is shown below:

I printed off a trial piece, and after gluing, cutting, and folding it I glued it on to a triangular piece of mounting board. The resulting built-up area is shown below:

It has turned out to be much better than I hoped, and I will be using this method to make the other built-up areas that I need for the game. They are printed on both sides – and are therefore less stark – and take up less room on the playing board – and are therefore less intrusive. A side effect of this change has meant that they can be stored in even less space, as they will stack together. All this came about because of the feedback I got from visitors to this blog … thank you!


  1. Bob, your new town pieces look much, much better. If you were dealing with larger BUA's that covered two or more squares, the townscapes could join/intersect at ninety degrees to make T or X shapes; any square with townscape along two edges would count as BUA. Larger towns or cities could be indicated by combining several of these pieces. This is the way I'll go with my figure games - no more problems with buildings in scale with the figures having too large a footprint on the table top... And you could have similar pieces showing buildings on fire and shattered ruins to substitute when necessary!
    See you at Salute, Arthur

  2. Arthur,

    It was your prompting about reducing the starkness of the inside of the ‘boxes’ that made me look again at how I was making my built-up areas, and the results do seem to solve a lot of problems with what to do about oversized buildings on the tabletop. In other words, two good ideas added together produce an even better one!

    My next step will be to look at making some built-up areas that have more robust sides, possible made from wood or Plasticard. One idea might be to take a leaf from model railway enthusiasts, who often have very thin buildings in the background of their layouts; the frontage of the buildings are in scale or slightly under scale but the depth is much less than it should be.

    See you at Salute!


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