Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Random: Playing in a Sandbox

Originally I was going to start by writing an article on making some gaming tables for cheap (still, look for that article coming soon!) but I stumbled upon the site in my quest for good quality sand for basing.  Once I started browsing I had a crazy idea, "What if they make sandboxes that are 4 feet by 4 feet?" - that is, the standard table size for a game of Warmachine/Hordes.  Sure enough, they do!  Granted, it's about $100, but it does come with an optional cover.


Wargamers already face implications of playing with "toy soldiers" enough as it is.  I mean, we do play with plastic and metal models and we do have rules for them.  We move them across the table and go "pew pew" or "I smash you with my sword!" while other people go "nuh uh!  you can't do that because I move over here first!"  On second thought, yeah, I guess we do play these games like we're children, but so what?  I, for one, miss my childhood, so I'm okay with taking a break from my job of trying to get high school students to practice science to play around with some awesome looking toys.
What I think I do
So naturally, why can't we play Warmachine/Hordes in a sandbox?  There are some great advantages to playing in a sandbox over playing on a normal table.  We've already established that they already make sandboxes that are the perfect 4' x 4' size that we need, but what are some of the other great advantages?

4) Less Back Pain - Perhaps it's because I'm getting older, but I feel like some of the more well-endowed ladies who play miniatures games also know what I'm talking about.  If you're playing a game for a long time and are leaning over the table constantly, your back begins to hurt after a while!  If you're playing in a sandbox, you can sit on the edge and easily reach everything that you need to get to!  If you have to lean on something, you end up just leaning on the sand and that will cushion your weight so you won't have stiff joints either!

3) Realistic Terrain - What's more real than playing on actual sand!?  Sure, just like everyone else your models seem to have bases that would place them on grassy, temperate fields, but why wouldn't your guys fight in the desert somewhere?  Also, if you need to define areas like "trees" you can just rip some branches off of a nearby real tree and stick them in the sand!  Better yet, you can have actual water features!  Dig out your river and let the water flow!  Okay, maybe that won't work so well, but it's fun to think about!
"And if your warjack is on this hill it gets an elevation bonus"

2) Playing Outside - For some of you this might be more of a disadvantage, but I personally love playing miniatures games outside.  Aside from New England weather, there's no other reason why I can't play my miniatures games outside.  You have tons of natural lighting (meaning your models look awesome), you get to enjoy the fresh air, and you can enjoy any nature that you might have around you.  Toss in a couple beers, buddies, and bbq and you have the most amazing backyard party you can imagine.  Plus, sand makes a great beer holder in a pinch.

1) Low Maintenance - This is related to the note about beer (or non-alcoholic beverages for young folks), but I would want to punch someone if they spilled some kind of beverage on my table.  I spend a lot of time on making gaming tables and most beverages are some kind of sticky and it just ruins everything.  If you're in a sandbox, that liquid will just get soaked right up no problem!  Spilling of beverages no longer becomes a hassle!  Similarly, you don't have to worry about paint chipping because there's no paint!  Nope, I can just put the lid on, mix up the sand, and we're set for another game!  Even if you do get sand all over your models, you can still just wash them off with water like it's no big deal and you're set to go!

Those are 4 great reasons to spend the money to either buy (or just make) a sandbox to play your miniatures games in.  Better yet, for those of you who have your own spawn, this is a great excuse to go outside and spend some time with them or get them their own sandbox.  I'm sure many of us would think that $100 is a reasonable price for a game table, so why not spend it on your offspring to get a sandbox that you can use too?
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