Malifaux – On the edge of the city proper near the border of the Quarantine Zone, lies the Qi & Gong. This Three-kingdoms style establishment caters to all comers. Nestled within the smokey confines you may come across smugglers, murders, thieves or worse. All types come here to lose themselves in the opiate haze that permeates the building or to lose themselves in the embrace of the many soiled doves that call this place home.
I really like the idea of a "chinatown" within Malifaux, it fits with the time period and helps to make sense of things like katana wielding zombies. In book one Victoria meets Zoraida in one of the rooms, and gets a reading. That small chunk of the story caught my attention and inspired me to build a full size tavern. Most gaming terrain consists of small 5"x5" impassible building or ruined sections of the buildings. In reality this isn't really to scale and having a barfight in one of these is more like a fight in a small shack. Of course making something to scale creates all kinds of problems with storage and keeping it playable without getting boring adds to the challenge.
To create the Qi & Gong I started with a 24"x24" piece of MDF. From the description in the text it's a multi-storied pagoda style building. While that make look really cool it isn't exactly playable (having to move floors and whatnot). So I decided to stick with a 2 story building (6" high, 3" per floor). Rather than try to figure a way to remove floors during the game, I stuck with a wide open serving area, with a second floor of several rooms. Keeping the area under the rooms blocked off as a solid chunk created a solid base for the rooms above and helped to limit the area below. Realizing that a wide open area like that would be problematic giving ranged lists an unfair advantage I added another sectioned off room. This is the "opium den" area it gives a more secluded spot for clients to partake in what ever they fancy.
Detailing a large box like this is always a challenge. It needs to be interesting by can't be cluttered so that it hampers usability. I drew up some tiles, doors and chinese-style gates that I converted to SVG files and cut out of cardstock with a Circuit machine. For the trim I found some craftsticks that had notches cut out of them which looked like they'd fit the bill. The railings were made from doll house parts cut down to fit.
It's still a work in progress and I'll post more in the future including a tutorial about making beds and tables.