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Your opinions on Dwarven Forge Terrain?


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For a long time I thought that Dwarven Forge was too expensive and too focused on D&D. 

However, my opinion has changed and like many converts I am very passionate about my new love. It is a love shared by my wife and we want others to experience the same joy we feel. Yet often when we broach the subject we hear the same things being repeated that we once said. 

I have a lengthy blog post about our views on Dwarven Forge if you are curious…. 

https://thegrumpygnome.home.blog/2021/02/25/dwarven-forged/

But we would like to know what folks here think about Dwarven Forge Terrain in regards to their gaming. How many folks use it? If no, why not?

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DW terrain is pretty, but rather difficult in execution.  Transport, setup, and takedown are all less than trivial tasks.  Creating a couple of encounter areas takes a surprising number of pieces.

I've a number of the older (pre-kickstarter) sets.  They are awesome.  Though I've used them maybe twice.

I do like the look of them, and wouldn't turn down a chance to play on one, but I don't have a place I can pre-setup dwarven forge and leave it for undetermined amounts of time.  Now, if I had one of those tables with the sunken area that you could cover, I think I'd get more miles out of it.

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My first thought was that the durability would be a huge asset to transportability but yeah, weight is an issue. I did not consider set up time as that much more than other terrain but then I was focusing on certain builds and have done more theoretical builds than actual builds. 
 

We do have the advantage of a dedicated hobby room with a big table and plenty of storage space… so that will also influence our experiences. 
 

Looking back to my younger gaming days, with less money and space, I was thinking that with some of the newer terrain, the city, castle and forest pieces, that players who normally only have miniatures and rely on a host to provide a table and terrain, could have a couple of signature pieces to bring along each game to add to the table the same way they bring their army/warband/hero.

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I seriously looked at Dwarven Forge terrain twice as it is beautiful terrain.  Once years ago when I was earning enough to purchase what I wanted and again when they put out their kickstarter.  On both occasions I came up with the same reasons not to purchase it.  If you are looking at investing in DF I would never tell you not to, it just did not work out for me. 

 

When I do modular terrain I tend to break it down into room size pieces for both ease of setup and so I can incorporate detail and vignettes into the build.  I also like to customize most of what I purchase so I did not feel that I would get as much bang for my buck so to speak with DF.  I figured that I would end up gluing DF pieces together to build and customise rooms so that would to defeat the purpose of the terrain.  In the end I purchased loads of Hirst Arts moulds and went that rout.  It was much more time intensive but for me that is the part of the hobby that I enjoy.  I do have quite a few friends that invested heavily in DF and played on their beautiful tables on more than one occasion but they just did not work for me. 

 

To the comments about weight and storage, I do not find that either will detract me from building/purchasing terrain so in my case it is not a deal breaker.  Setup time can be an issue as everyone has limited time to invest on a game night. 

 

My two cents. 

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It is always interesting to hear what folks think. And what works for one person might not work for another. 
 

I can understand your points. You mention Hirst Arts, and I always think of Hirst Arts when folks say 3d printing will be the Death of Dwarven Forge. 
 

And I understand your point of personal customization. As a modeler myself, I like to customize pieces too. I intend to customize Dungeons and Lasers more than Dwarven Forge but almost all of our pieces get some personal customization.

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Expensive and you need small bases. You can squeeze in 20mm square bases but if you've got some 25mm squares or 30mm rounds then you're going to have some trouble actually using the squares on the floor - especially in the narrower tunnels and doorways.

 

While it is expensive you do get what you pay for and it's high quality stuff. Since 20mm square bases are a lot less popular now than they used to be they might have considered an up-scaled range in a slightly larger size as a lot of people are using 25mm rounds and 30mm rounds these days. I haven't checked if they've created any different sized variants.

Edited by Balgin Stondraeg
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I also went the Hirst Arts route.  DF is beautiful and a good quality product but at the time I had more time on my hands than cash.  I like the creative process of building and painting and I liked that there were more options with the molds than just dungeon tunnels.   I've built houses, towers, bridges, ruins and scatter terrain, as well as vignettes and display bases.  I find the DF less versatile in that regard.  

 

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On 5/22/2021 at 10:41 AM, Inarah said:

I also went the Hirst Arts route.  DF is beautiful and a good quality product but at the time I had more time on my hands than cash.  I like the creative process of building and painting and I liked that there were more options with the molds than just dungeon tunnels.   I've built houses, towers, bridges, ruins and scatter terrain, as well as vignettes and display bases.  I find the DF less versatile in that regard.  

 

 

I think it's time you looked back at Dwarven Forge again; they have expanded much further than dungeon tunnels.  🙂

 

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Edited by animesensei
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With Hirst Arts is it always plaster or can you use other material? I had some bigger plaster terrain but it kept chipping. The small plaster bits, like barrels and boxes seem to do ok but it was really frustrating when I kept chipping buildings.

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Some folks do use resin in their molds, however it's said that resin will cause the mold to break down quickly. Idk about that because I've only ever used resin in one mold, the graveyard fencing 10 years ago, and it has held up fine. The standard advice is to make a copy of the mold you want to use resin in and then use that.

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On 5/22/2021 at 6:11 PM, Balgin Stondraeg said:

Expensive and you need small bases. You can squeeze in 20mm square bases but if you've got some 25mm squares or 30mm rounds then you're going to have some trouble actually using the squares on the floor - especially in the narrower tunnels and doorways.

This reminds me, about 15 years ago, I knew a gamer who had bought a fair bit of DF resin kept cussing about how it was more 25mm than 28mm. I thought he was a bit harsh, but in retrospect, it certainly wasn't *heroic* 28mm. It worked quite well with his early 90s Ral Partha and Grenadier figures, but mid-noughts Reaper tended to be a bit large.

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My wife and I do not use grids in our gaming somit is difficult for me to say if this is an issue. I know I have seen some folks on the Dwarven Forge forums talking about their feelings on scale changes between different evolutions of the terrain.

 

In my most recent blog entry I took some photos of figures with 25mm, 32mm, 40mm and 60mm bases on some DF terrain.

 

https://thegrumpygnome.home.blog/2021/05/24/some-more-reviews-dwarven-forge-burrows-and-monster-fight-club/

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5 hours ago, Grumpy Gnome said:

With Hirst Arts is it always plaster or can you use other material? I had some bigger plaster terrain but it kept chipping. The small plaster bits, like barrels and boxes seem to do ok but it was really frustrating when I kept chipping buildings.

 

I used dental plaster, which is quite a bit sturdier than the stuff you can buy at your local craft store.  It won't survive being dropped off a table, but it generally reduces chips and breakage through normal use and transport, and can be repaired easily.   DF is much sturdier in that regard, but you pay for it. 

 

 

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Dental plaster, ah! Interesting. I am not sure what plaster was used in those buildings I had. Part of me worries about the resin Hagglethorn Hollow has when it comes to chipping. It has not chipped on me yet but it feels like it could at any minute.

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