Friday, September 9, 2011

Terraclips Uncut

So. and So. 

About a week ago, my package from Gencon arrived, containing inside it 2 boxes of clips for the Terraclips terrain system released by wyrd. These were destined to be used with a box of Streets and a box of Buildings of Malifaux that Chris (TheStrakenAwakes) had picked up for me for christmas / birthday/ guinnipigging. 

Shortly after this package arrived, Chris received the other terraclips stuff via Maelstrom, after having it on order for damn near 10 months, and last friday Chris called over and we spent about 6 hours building some terrain :D

Anyway, since I forgot (being the kippie that I am...) to take photos until the end, I'll skip the unboxing and go straight on to the review:

Terraclips - A Review:

Upon opening the first box (Buildings) we were amazed at how much stuff you actually get in there. Theres a huge amount of stuff inside, and theres so much customizability to it that its actually crazy.

We started out breaking all of the bitz out of the cardboard sprue bits (sprue? is that the right word for it? I dunno), and sorting them according to shape and size, as we pretty soon had a pretty damn big collection of piles of bitz that took up the entire dining room table.

In the Buildings set (since I've yet to see a comprehensive list of whats in there, or even a general list of the types of things you can expect) you get the following. Note that this is not an exhaustive list, but rather more general:
  • 6x6 floor tiles
  • 3x3 floor tiles
  • 3x2 wall tiles
  • 6x2 wall tiles
  • a metric ton of different roofing sections - these include different shapes and sizes, as well as the gables and rest of the mcguffins. 
  • balcony floors - these are 1 inch deep floor sections that end in either a rectangular section or in 45 degree triangles which allow you to link them and follow the shape of the buildings edge.
  • balcony railings - similar sizes and shapes to the balcony floors
  • door sections - these all fit into the holes in some of the wall tiles, and all of them come with handy templates to allow them to stand
  • stairs and ladders - talk about these later
  • tokens - talk about these later as well 

In the Streets box, you get much the same contents, excepting many more flooring sections, no balcony sections (although you still get the railings), and you also get 2 ramp sections.

The ramp sections are really cool - these consist of a 6x6 floor section that gets mounted on a 30 degree angle slope via linking it to special wall sections. 

With all of the Streets stuff the textures used are different from those seen in the Buildings stuff, giving a huge amount of variety to the range.

Once everything had been unboxed and organised, we set out to assemble ourselves a few buildings and to see how far we could get with what we had.

Again, as I forgot to do in progress pictures, I'll simply highlight things that came to our attention about it all:
  • There is a huge variety to everything in the boxes, and it really lends itself to designing your own world. Using the two boxes of clips that I had, we managed to build a huge amount of stuff, but we still had enough for at least another 2 foot of streets and another 2 story building plus balconies if we had more clips.

  • With the terraclips stuff you can make it as simple or as complex as you like, and it has the robustness to deal with whatever you decide to do. One thing you do need to realise however is that Terraclips is very much a hobby project - buying a few boxes of clips and a box of terrain only gets you about 65% of the way there - the rest is definitely down you your imagination and design skills,

  • Build quality and materials:
    • Terraclips is made from 1.5mm thick card stock  with a matte finish (think boardgame board quality) that looks to be remarkably durable - when the buildings were complete we tested how strong they were, and they held an entire Malifaux army case (full) with no visible strain.
    • there were very few die cut issues from we could see, although one of the ramps from the Streets box did have a slight issue. This was the only problem we found however, as the rest of the stuff was spot on.

  • Clip use:
    • with the clips, you tend to go through stages. Initially, you overclip to a huge level, using far more clips than are actually needed. As the build goes on, you realise this and go back to readjust the clip use, freeing up clips as you go and allowing more building to go on.
    • However, even with going back to reduce the overclipping issue, there is something that i can say that anyone buying terraclips (or planning to) should take heed of:
      • You *need* more than 1 box of clips per box of terrain. Not want, not might use, Need. Thats not to say that you dont get a lot of clips in the box - far from it. No, it is simply that the terrain boxes have so *much* that you go through clips far too fast.

  • Build time:
    • when you are building your terrain, you really want to leave a few hours to figure it out. Initially, you want to spend an evening simply playing round with it, getting used to the design and figuring out what it can do. Dont try to go for an initial layout, as it is simply too much to do in a first look.Instead, build your first trial, test it out, and then once you have done that come back later and do your favoured design - this give you a chance to check it out and figure out the possibilities and limitations of the terraclips stuff.

  • Ladders and Stairs:
    • In the boxes, you get quite a number of these. One thing you should keep in mind is that these are far more fiddly and prone to falling apart than the rest of the terraclips stuff, and they are the one thing that I would recommend gluing together when you build the terrain.  
    • The ladders are really cool, as you can use them in two different ways - either lean them up against a wall, or have them freestanding. 
    • the stairs are also really good, as they fit the size of the tiles, and so you can use them by simply leaving out a 3x3 section of the floor above.  

  • Tokens:
    •  In the box sets you get a huge amount of tokens (something like 50 tokens between the two boxes). These tokens include the following:
      • 40mm base inserts matching the terrain (only about 4 or 5 of these however)
      • 30mm base inserts matching the terrain 
      • poison counters
      • soulstone counters
      • objective markers (literally X marks the spot)
      • treasure counters
      • Blood counters
      • Scrap counters
      • body part counters
      • corpse counters
    • one thing to note about the tokens is that they are all made from the same material as the rest of the terraclips stuff, so they are remarkably durable. As well, they are 25 mm in diameter, so they actually fit inside the inner lip of a 30mm base snugly. 

Anyway, that wraps up the basic review. On to the photos!
this is a 5 level building that can be broken down into a 2 and a 3 level building.

another view of the building

A view of the inside of the 5th level. on the left you can see a ladder as well as a set of 1" wide stairs. These are the same size as the balconies, and there are a number of these stairs in the buildings set.

5th Floor inside. archways on the right are indicative of stuff from the Buildings set. As you can see, there are two different floor patterns - stone and wood.

A view of the 3rd floor. To the right is a balcony - there should be a ladder up to this (but I took it out for some reason....its off to the right in this picture). There are a few different ways up  to this level - a free standing ladder in the second floor, and a climbable wall section to the left from the balcony. Also, although you cant see it from this angle, there is a doorway out to the right hand side that can be reached with another ladder.

The second floor. This has 2 ways to gain access - a ladder up from the ground floor to the balcony at the end on the left, and the stairs on the right. The floor is divided into two sections, which can only be crossed by going round the balcony, although the walls can be made breakable as well I guess :D

The Ground floor. There are two different ways in - the doorway at the top next to the stairs and the archway at the bottom. 

The completed street layout. A shortage of clips dictated the layout - there is a lot more available, but it needs clips.

Inside the sewer section. From this position you can see the variety in different floor designs in the set - you get various different types of street terrain, many with individual artwork, as well as large pieces such as the sewer drains and the pond.

a better view of the pond. Looks really funky

a view across the sewer areas towards the tower. It really shows the detail of the textures used.

a completed layout. This layout is 2 1/2 feet by 3 feet. spreading it out can allow you to cover a 4 foot square table with ease, although you might want to use some woods terrain etc.

A side view of the houses, although it highlights a fubar with the balconies (really easy to fix...)

So. there you have it.  Not the most in depth review, but I hope folks find it useful. Any questions, feel free to drop me an email.

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