Cardboard City

I’m no longer a big tabletop wargamer, many many years ago I played a lot of Space Marine, Warhammer and 40K. But for many reasons (probably a topic for another post some day) I’ve moved onto more “self-contained” and less time consuming gaming, such as board games.

However in a few weeks I’ll be having a game of Necromunda.

Necromunda (for those that don’t know) is an old Games Workshop skirmish game, sort of like Warhammer 40K, but fought with small gangs rather than massive armies. Now long abandoned by GW and sidelined in their “Specialist Games” graveyard. It’s great that it doesn’t need you to paint hundreds of miniatures, but it does require some tabletop features and terrain for your gangs to be scrambling and scrapping over. Necromunda is set on a hellish industrial “hive world”, untold billions suffer in massive, twisted, spire like cities, millenniums old, never seeing the sun, forced to exist in a partially-ruined, mechanized hell. So if you just picture Bradford, you’ll not be far off. I had some plastic terrain that fitted the bill, but I needed a lot more if I was ever going to recreate a 28mm scale version of Bradford in the far future.

I headed over to World Works Games. I’ve lusted over their beautiful looking cardboard, print-your-own terrain for a long time. Their Platform Command set seemed to be just what I needed for Necrobradford. It was only $12 and once you buy & download the PDF set you can print as much as you like (ink and card permitting!) I’ve never done this sort of thing before but fancied giving it a go – it even had Wife Approvaltm as she loves playing with cardboard and cutting stuff out.

So what did I use?

  • Some 160gsm cardstock, designed for printers.
  • Some 210gsm cardstock, not designed for printers but it seems to go through my HP Officejet without any problems at all.
  • Glue. Various types. The Bostik Glue Pen was a disaster, the cheap “Craft Glue” seemed the best, applied very sparingly.
  • Craft knife, with a nice fresh blade
  • Cutting mat – so I didn’t destroy the dining table
  • A nice new metal ruler. Essential, get one of these.
  • Pack of cheap felt tip pens for edging.
Printing was painless, just make sure you switch off “scale to page” and hit print. I noticed no difference between my printer’s “Normal” and “Best” settings so I’ve stuck with normal to save a bit of ink. Cutting & scoring requires patience, but it’s not difficult – just painstaking, it’s not something you can rush. Gluing is the real voodoo. You really do have to follow the instructions (supplied with the PDFs you purchase) as the order you stick it all together is pretty critical. Then there’s the edging – this is going over the white creases & score lines with a felt pen to make them blend in better. The edging really makes a difference, and helps take everything from “that’s a little thing made of cardboard, ahh bless” to something a bit more slick and dare I say it, real looking. I experimented with black, grey brown and various neutral colours, I found what worked best depended on the piece I was edging
So far I’ve only done a few pretty simple parts – some bulkheads, a ladder, some crates and misc machines/boxes, but I wanted to share my progress and adventures so far. And even these few accessories will help enhance the game, providing cover, vantage points and whatnot. Once I finish a few more parts I’ll post them up. Soon Necrobradford will rise!

Tools of the trade

The blueprints

In progress... it gets a bit messy

The start of my little paper world

Author: Ben Coleman

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  1. My complete inability with papercraft in general (seriously – I can’t even fold paper in half properly. The looks of pity that greet my attempts to present people with wrapped presents are a source of regular shame) means I’ve never gone in for this sort of thing. Well, that and my lack of a decent quality colour printer. I’m a bit jealous :(

    Still, if you ever fancy getting any prefabs, Sarissa Precision’s new System ∞ range looks pretty good for anyone interested in future-y skirmish level games like Necromunda or Infinity: all sorts of laser-cut MDF buildings, ladders, containers and other decals, with catwalks apparently on the way. Based in the UK, too, so the prices aren’t too bad. Worth considering if you fancy some burnt wood to go with your card 😉

  2. Amazing stuff. I always fail hard because I can never get the most important bit right, having the images printed properly.

    Have you considered the cardboard sets that have been developed with Malifaux? Comes pre-printed and with little clips, you can make a modular board/scenery with it.

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