Today we speak of an unusual and very interesting project: it is true that there are other projects about tile sets for RPGs, out there, but it is very rare indeed that truly modular 3D tiles are involved, especially taking into account the issue of portability. It also very rarely happen that the people involved in such a project, have a truly specific experience in that field! Why? Well, read below and see for yourselves!
Today’s interreview is about Mobilescape Adventures – Tabletop RPG Terrain, a Kickstarter by Mobilescape Adventures, a new company focused in creating terrain for tabletop games (Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, etc.) that is portable yet highly detailed and dimensional, to use their own words.
They also add: “As gaming fanatics, we LOVE miniatures, terrain and scenery…but as cool as all that stuff is, there’s often WAY too much to pack and take with you to your friend’s place, or wherever your games take place. We wish that we could set up elaborate game boards, even when we’re on the go…”
It is a new point of view for this kind of projects, but one that many of us gamers know well: I, myself, have the luck to play with many different groups and friends and some of us are one hundreds kilometers apart and, sometimes, the master has to leave something at home, most often the scenery … It would be interesting to have something light, to bring with you where you want and build and use on the spot for a tactical ambush, a good ol’ skirmish or dungeoncrawl, a strategic battle or siege.
We can draw something by hand, if we are able to do it, to make for the lack of 2D tiles, but nothing can replace a good 3D scenery and make a tabletop more similar to live, onstage, storytelling. This is especially true for games where concepts like cover, aim, and sight are very important!
When the Mobilescape Adventures team contacted us, we were eager to speak about their project, because we totally see its usefulness. In the Kickstarter page, they explain that in the Starter Pack you can find all the typical terrains that you need in most RPGs, pathways, trees, rocks, bushes and many others but, most importantly, you can build very beautiful 3D structures like cottages, stone houses and towers, without cutting, gluing or painting involved! The pieces stand upon clear plastic bases so you can hide PCs and NPCs behind 3D objects or simulate someone in hiding with the leaves of a tree with a clip attached to the top of it!
Ed and Stephen of Mobilescape Adventures were so kind to describe for us, their other Packs too, Dungeon, House and Tower Pack that you can equally find and support in their Kickstarter page!
“Our Dungeon Pack consists of two different styles of dungeon tiles. Instead of having to pre-draw an entire map on paper or a grid, a dungeon battlefield is assembled in seconds. There is no need to waste time erasing the next room in a dungeon, you can rearrange these pieces quickly and push your game forward, instead of having your players wait for you to draw out maps. Our graphics are simple, and clean – which make them adaptable for many stories and campaigns. We’ve even included elements like beds, an evil altar, braziers and things typically found in most fantasy dungeons so you can place them on TOP of your tiles instead of drawing it into them.”
“Our House Pack and our Tower Pack are our pride and joy. We’ve designed special “L” clips to allow users to assemble 3D structures commonly found in fantasy settings. You can use these as terrain pieces to fight in a city or town, and you can play inside the structures as well. Each pack comes with 2 – two story buildings. We’ve also included essentials such as beds, bookshelves and more. The best part is, once your done, you can disassemble in seconds and toss the pieces in a folder to use in the future. Once again, no need to cut, glue or paint.”
The quality is a very important aspect too: the tiles of this Kickstarter are very light but robust and of a high material and artistic quality, because the Mobilescape Adventures team actually is involved in the creation of real, onstage, scenery for theaters and know and work with many high quality manufacturers of the field.
But now let’s read our usual question/answer part!
1) Hi Mobilescape Adventures team,
what can you tell us about you? How many of you, where your company is based and a bit of your, gaming and mundane, background.
We are friends who met playing Dungeons and Dragons in New York City. Ed is an actor and writer, and I (Stephen) am a set designer working primarily in live theater and opera. We both started playing RPGs recently, and Ed is also a dungeon master. Because we both live in small apartments, and commute to play DnD, we recognized that there is a market for people who need more portability and flexibility when they game. We both love sculpted terrain and 3D printed objects, but they take up too much space in our homes and in our backpacks.
2) I totally understand and I share your opinion, I had some experience of that in the past. I was a brain on the run, straight translation from Italian, you say brain drain, but I always laughed at the idea of my brain running somewhere, anyway a gamer far away from home has to travel light … Going back to your Kickstarter, please tell us something about it, in your own words. Where did the idea of the Kickstarter come from? Maybe some other projects of the past?
Earlier this year Ed showed me some concept sketches he had developed for the product we are now selling — and I realized that my talent for designing scenery wasn’t that different from the skills needed to create board games. I already build scale models when I design scenery, and Ed is a gifted storyteller and improvisor from his background as an actor, so we bring complementary talents to our new company.
3) I totally admire people working in this field, I have a soft spot for theater, and no talent whatsoever, but I like to improvise too, when I roleplay. Apart for your obviously adequate background and skill, what do you think you can do that many others cannot?
Our product addresses a need that is currently not being met: portability. When Ed and I play DnD we always meet at our DM’s house, because our DM has too much stuff to bring elsewhere, where it’s someone else’s house, a gaming cafe, or a store. We want gamers to be able to set up elaborate game boards wherever they want to play.
4) Yes, I understand, some of my DMs have to bring plenty of books, dice, miniatures and even scenery. It is often too much! As a devil’s advocate, I could ask you why people should be confident in your company and Kickstarter? What are its strongest points and the differences respect to other “similar” tile set production projects?
We’ve done our homework. We’re manufacturing our game pieces through trusted and experienced manufacturers who have built many popular games. We’re also both freelancers, who are skilled at running our own businesses. I (Stephen) am a freelance designer whose entire career has been bringing stage designs to life. Our backers can be confident that we will deliver on our promise to bring Mobilescape Adventures to life.
We’re very excited to get our game tiles into the hands of the consumer. Our terrain is “playable” in a way that many others are not. Our punch-out pieces are ready to play out of the box and assemble in seconds. Sure, you could spend hours setting up an elaborate sculpted dungeon, but as gamers know, when you play DnD, anything can happen — you might spend part of your night in that dungeon, or your group may just as easily skip over that storyline to pursue a different angle. We want you to have the pieces on hand to tell that story.
5) What are you saying??? Players doing something totally unexpected skipping a carefully prepared dungeon? It’s unheard of! Do you want to tell us a small scoop of your Kickstarter, some update to come maybe?
We are most excited about are our 3D buildings and structures. Our clip system is easy to use, and we are designing and developing bigger and better buildings that utilize this system, which allows players to tell their stories in multi-level buildings in a snap. When our Kickstarter takes off we will be unlocking one of these buildings, which will be available with the rest of our products in early 2017.
6) After the past and the present of Mobilescape Adventures, let’s speak about the future! We sincerely hope you fund your Kickstarter and have a lot of success. What are your ideas and vision for your future?
We will continue to pursue our mission of portable storytelling. On our website, mobilscapeadventures.com, we’ve already released free printable designs for game maps that can be printed from home, as well as a collapsible dice-tower that you can flat-pack and bring to your game. And, we’re planning much more. We’ll continue releasing select designs for free to our fans, as well as providing new low-cost pre-printed and affordable terrain for gamers who don’t have time to sit at home with glue, board, and scissors. Our current product line is designed to look good in many different settings, but we are also planning more specific sets, for terrain like Swamp, Arctic and Desert.
All very interesting, thank you Ed and Stephen for your time!
This project is very useful for a real 3D storytelling (and storytellers) on the go, so we wish a lot of success to your Kickstarter, we know that you see it as a starting place for many other things to come, always with the idea of helping the mobile gamer on-the go!
We suggest to our readers to take a look and support this nice Kickstarter and we hope to see you soon!