In the year 2000 ... Building a Near Future Board

Terrain – I've begun the groundwork for my near future board. After doing a few sketches and looking at the large amount of laser cut terrain available in the market today I decided to pull some inspiration from these designs. While I really like the look of the laser cut mdf I can't justify the cost when I can build eactly what i want myself. Sure it might be easier to just buy and glue together a kit (probably will go that route in the future...) but I'd like to build everything from scratch for this board.

After laying out some paper shapes on my Zuzzy mat I got a rough idea of what type of layout I wanted to create. My thought is to create a slum/industrial area and I drove around Detroit for some inspiration. In many seedier neighborhoods you have truck depots/shipping yards that but up against residential areas and also feature some of the less desirable businesses. For my purposes this is going to be the ideal battleground. The structures I have planned are a three-story apartment building, liquor store, gentleman's club and a fenced in shipping yard; combined with the variety of 1:43 scale cars I've found I'll be able to detail out the neighborhood easily.

The first step was determining a size for my buildings as there are several different systems I plan on using this board for it was important to make sure the scale made sense for everything. In MERCS the movement cards are about 3.5" long, so I used that as my basis for the height of a standard wall, this way it's easy to determine how many MP it takes for a model to ascend a level. Most other systems have 4"-6" as a standard move so this size will work with them as well.

I happen to have a bunch of 1/2" gator board that I saved from a dumpster (technically) which I decided to used as the basis for my walls. The nice thing about gator board is it has a styrene skin which holds up better than paper. This board is very dense and provides a sturdy foundation for the walls, especially when cut down to small sections like these buildings. It is however difficult to cut as the plastic skin is so durable it will take a few passes with the blade before you get to the foam.

After messing around with a few designs I came up with a look I like for the apartment building and have begun cutting out the windows and cutting cardstock to detail the exterior of the building. I'm going to give the impression of concrete formed material with some geometric patterns. I think this will look futuristic enough without going over the top.

I also cut out the walls for the club. I went with an "L" shape that can break up the table in some interesting ways. My plan is to fully detail out the interiors of these buildings and add removable roofs so you can easily enter and exit them.

Next steps are to continue detailing the building exteriors and devise a method for stacking them that won't be to difficult to remove during game play.