Saturday, June 11, 2016

Question: Do We Even Need Closed-Building Rules?

Some 3D Printed Building Parts, with a Games Workshop™ Space Marine Added For Scale.
In case anyone reading this doesn't also follow my postings on The Back 40K, I've gone and bought a 3D printer. Well, two actually. Though the nicer high-detail one hasn't gotten here yet.

But as I'm getting the hang of printing with the lower-res filament printer, I'm doing what a lot of us probably will be doing a lot of over the next couple of years. Which is printing up some really nice buildings that I bought the 3D files for online. Buildings which, unusually for 40K, have removable roofs, and in some cases even working doors.

Which has me wondering if, as a project, we shouldn't ditch the rules for closed-model buildings entirely, and just treat them as impassible terrain instead. Buildings that can open up would then be treated more like ruins with roofs.

Up until now, WarStrike's rules have used abstractions like the 3"x4" card system exampled at left, to try and make non-openable buildings more usable than 40K's method of just treating them as a stationary transport.

But that's really just a result of 40K buildings, like the Bastion and other kits, not being open-able at all. As well as the reality of adapting the odd resin-cast house or pet-store terrarium piece (below left) as structures.

But in Flames of War, it's been at least 5 years since I've even seen a house or other building model where the roof and floors couldn't be lifted off, and infantry/gun models placed inside. Probably because you buy the buildings fully assembled (resin cast) and painted. The removable levels are just part of the design. Which is something that Battlefront's "Battlefield in a Box" line has always done, so other manufacturers have gone and done it too.

But now we're entering the age of 3D printing, and the first commercial print files I'm seeing also have this feature. Not only because they can be rescaled to work with either 15mm (Flames) or 28mm  (40K) wargames, but because the models often have to be broken up into separate wall and roof bits anyhow, due to variations in the size of 3D print beds.

Anything I do on my printer, for instance, has to fit within a roughly 6"x6"x7" square. So this 28mm scale chapel model is going to be printed in 2 pieces for the floor/walls, plus another two pieces for the roof. The wall sections might (or might not) end up glued together. But the roof will be easy to lift off and place to one side in either one section or two.

If you're a 3D printed model building designer, it would be silly to go through the trouble of breaking up the model into smaller pieces (for smaller printers) and not split them at the roof-line, or not detail the insides as well. Especially if you want to appeal to the smaller-scale historical players who've come to expect a building to not be a single lump of cast resin or plastic.

So given all that... Should we even bother with an abstracted system for buildings that don't open up? In most of the competitive 40K games that I've seen, all of the structures are either semi-open ruins, or bastions that everyone just treats as impassible anyhow.

The cards are a neat way of breaking up the inside of a building, and determining visually (instead of using a table) how many models can fit inside. But it does add complexity, and I'm not sure anyone will actually want to use them.


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