USAriadna Outpost Mood Board
Something I occasionally like doing when I'm sitting on the bus for hours on end going to and from work is think of how I would do a hobby project. Before I talked about my idea for a massive Yu Jing themed board inspired by Bladerunner. That project however, if you couldn't guess by looking at it, would actually require a fairly long time to complete, as well as quite the financial investment. Sure, it's easy to say that with an unlimited budget and free time, it would be great to do, but what if you need to be a bit more realistic? I've been inspired lately to play some USAriadna, maybe for the chance to play a low tech army, compared to the insanely high tech Combined, or it could be due to the WW2 movies I've been watching lately, either way, let's think up an awesome USAriadna board that won't break the bank!
The Ground Up
Obviously, I'm a bit bias when it comes to the substrate for miniature wargaming, but I vastly prefer the FAT Mat to any other game mat I've tried. The print is high quality, and they've withstood many a spilled beer.
They're the single most expensive part of this game board, running $75 USD, but if you play multiple games, this is a fantastic investment as it works in basically any genre at most scales.
The BIG Stuff
Next up, lets find some of the bigger elements on the board, namely buildings and rock formations. This while idea actually came up when I took a look at the Dust Tactics Quonset Hut kit. If you look around on the internet, you can get a set of 6 of these buildings for about $20 and they fit nicely end to end to make long and short huts. Right off the bat, I'll be ordering two sets of these:
Personally, I'm of the opinion that no outpost is complete without a proper landing pad. There are a few people out there that make decent MDF landing pads, but since this is the largest piece of terrain on the board, I'm going to go with one that looks a bit better for a couple extra bucks, enter the Comanche Black Eagle Landing Pad by Warsenal.
Medium Sized Terrain
Now that we've covered the main large terrain pieces, we get into some of the slightly smaller stuff. I think it's good in Infinity to have a variety of terrain sizes, but also heights. What better to add some height to the board than the very affordable Spetsnaz Tower, also by Warsenal.
I've found some good USAriadna appropriate buildings by Customeeple as well, but they don't really fit the portable or disposable feel that I want to go with for my field base. It wouldn't be an infinity board without some crates though! Coming back to the rescue for some inexpensive terrain is Dust Tactics, with the Large and Small ammo dump sets. Decently priced they come with a resin base, but all the crates themselves are separate, so you could arrange them to make large LOS blocking piles like in the pictures, or you could use them as scatter terrain, making them very versatile, and the crates are even marked with U.S.!
Next up I want some solid LOS blocking pieces that can be placed around the board, you know, like walls. When you're rapidly setting up a base, large cement walls or steel barricades are impractical and difficult to transport, that's why our modern military uses what are called Hesco barriers. These are essentially a wire cage with a kevlar bag inside, that you fill with sand/dirt/rocks to create a cheap, rugged wall. Some miniature companies make these walls ready to go, but the ones in 28mm scale seem to be insanely expensive for some reason. Luckily I have found a pretty easy tutorial on imgur, but I'll post the highlights here, basically, wood blocks wrapped in a mesh with some sand glued into the open top! It might look kinda silly, but that's basically exactly what they look like in real life!
It wouldn't be an outpost without some trees. Buying them from GW or even some train stores can have you thinking that Trees have to be expensive, sometimes like $4-5 per tree. I've found a little place though that everyone should check out called Scenic Express, where you can get a sets of 25-50, ready to go trees, for less than $1 per tree.
Okay, we are almost getting there, the only other thing you need besides trees for a nice looking outpost table are some sexy rock formations. They're big, they block LOS, and they provide some irregular positions for models to hide and get LOS from. The classic way is to make these out of stacks of sheet insulation foam, cut into rocky edges and given a bit of sand. While I commend anyone patient enough to do that, I'm all about immediate gratification! For between $8-20 per piece, you can pick up some aquarium and terrarium resin rock formations:
Alright, we are on the final stretch! Scatter Terrain! Obviously there are tons of possibilities you can use, so I've picked a few in particular that I like. Both the Baueda and Warsenal sets come in under $10 each, and the Battlefield In A Box Rocky Outcrops are a bit more expensive, but look very nice and come with a good number of pieces.
The Cost of Greatness
Overall, the whole table, starting with absolutely nothing, should come out under $300, including the gaming mat! When you consider the high volume of terrain required for a game of Infinity, and the high cost terrain seems to command in some places, under $300 is quite respectable. If you really want to beef it up and spend about $350 you could end up with some more large terrain pieces. Naturally, if you use a sheet of insulation foam to make your own rocks, you can cover a whole game board with a single $20 sheet (those sheets are typically 8x4 feet and 2" thick), and save a few bucks, it's just up to how much time you'd like to spend.
One other thing I'd like to add are some sandbag bunkers, but I haven't found any that aren't really expensive. If you know where to get some, or have any additions to suggest, I'd love to hear it!