FallingSky Games - Wargame Terrain
A "more bang for your buck" set of wargames terrain to help gamers inexpensively raise the bar on their home/group's terrain collection
FallingSky Games - Wargame Terrain
A "more bang for your buck" set of wargames terrain to help gamers inexpensively raise the bar on their home/group's terrain collection
The goal of this project is to enable us to launch a set of affordable, high quality gaming terrain based around the most common types of terrain found outdoors. At the same time, we'd like to build a website full of resources on how to work with (ie model/paint/convert) these items to make sure they look spectacular on any game table.
The Story Thus Far
My goal for the actual terrain was to create enough variance in the product offerings that a gamer wouldn't need to have more than one of any terrain model from this line to fill their table. That ultimately means a better, more varied table at a lower price to the consumer.
So, what I’ve created are over 60 scenery master models, ready to be turned into molds for mass production. These are not concept sketches, they exist as a completed product. Furthermore, I’ve gone ahead and created the molds for one of the master molds in each set, to verify they can be duplicated without any flaws in the casting process or finished product.
I’ve sourced a great type of resin that volumizes as it cures, creating a light, inexpensive finished product that is ready to be painted without any work beyond the normal resin flash trim. It has a density similar to the insulation foam us veteran scenery guys use as our bread and butter, but even the finished products are easy to modify and convert, add too, etc. My gaming group has playtested it, and it holds up to standard game wear and tear nicely.
The final goal is many fold:
- I want, first and foremost, to be a solution to new gamers, groups, folks with limited income, and people who just don’t like doing scenery. I want to provide a quality product at a substantially reduced cost from the alternatives.
- I’d like, obviously, to expand our product range to include everything under the sun (one piece at a time of course) and intend to put (the majority of) the profits from sales towards “R&D” for new products. Ideally these first few sets fund the creation of new pieces – but big sets might warrant further kickstarters.
- If the Kickstarter is successful, our website will launch right after the product ships to backers. The website, in addition to being an ordering portal, will include guides and walkthroughs (beginning with documents, possibly moving to videos) on modeling, painting, and gaming with our products. Some groups do this, some don’t – I personally believe that if you’re going to buy my product, I should make sure it gets onto your table completed, not as an unpainted lump.
- I DON’T want to quit my day job – I enjoy it and make a good living. Sure, it’d be great to do so, but that’s not the goal. I should be able to support this system WITHOUT expecting it to pay all my bills, and that means I’ll be less stressed about turning a huge profit and you’ll be less likely to check the website one day and see that we’ve folded up shop. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If I were the consumer, I’d want to know that, so I thought I’d pass it on.
- Finally, I’d like to commit all of our product lines to being so competitive from a “bang for your buck” perspective that even veteran gamers and scenery guys step back and say “I could spend X amount of time building this myself, or I could just buy one from FSG”.
The FSG Hill Set
Hills are an essential piece on a gaming table – for one thing, they’re prevalent in a large part of any landscape, and for another they add some great tactical possibilities to the table. Not a lot of companies make hills, I think it’s probably because truly decent sized hills take up a lot of space and as such are kind of expensive to price to the public…. Our hills look like the high quality product available from big manufacturers and run about half the price. So I’m going to call that a win.
Paying attention to realism and playability, these hills sport enough texture and rocky surface to be visually appealing while maintaining a largest amount of flat space possible for the positioning of miniatures and figures. I’m happy with the balance we were able to strike between aesthetics and utility. My goal here is to provide quality variance in the game table experience for a low cost, so the initial release of gaming hills consists of 4 models with varying height and dimension, but I’d hope to double or triple the line so a player would never need to own more than one of a particular model.
You can see a walkthrough of the hills in the video below, and the stills of this set can be found here.
The FSG River Set
Go search for manufactured river terrain on the internet – go ahead, I’ll wait. I can’t find anything, produced by anyone, that represents anything more than a sizeable stream at a decent price. And that’s ok I suppose, but those products make me think of “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” – It’s not that big of a deal, look, I’m on one side of the river, I’m on the other side of the river…
They’re just generally small, and when I think river I want something impressive. Our product set is 7” wide from outer bank to outer bank, and depending on how the player chooses to finish them off will be able to represent a river somewhere between 15’-30’ wide. Now THAT’S a river.
The sections have been designed to be highly modular with a large number of variations. We created enough unique pieces that you shouldn’t (but you could if you wanted) have to own more than one of any piece… no duplicates – hopefully you see the recurring theme here… Each piece can be finish easily and will look great, or with a little more work will look highly realistic. In addition, the banks have been sloped in both directions, but I compromised a bit for playability and they should be able to support miniatures on top without them falling over, which is important for me (terrain you can’t put miniatures on is no good in my opinion.)
The complete river includes
- 8 straight sections- 6 of which are 1’ long, 2 are slightly shorter to allow for variance so your sections don’t have to stick off the board in order to be complete. You can see at least one is designed to be crossable by infantry and vehicles without danger.
- 2 90 degree river bends
- 4 partial river bends – 2 are 45 degrees, 2 are 30 degrees to allow for variance in deployment
- The obligatory spring model so that you can begin/end a river in the middle of the board if you wish.
- A river “Y” to… well… “Y” your river
- A bridge section – currently, the bridge will need to be added by the gamer in question – this might change if I can come up with a generic bridge that will work in all game environments.
- And finally a section that I personally love – it is a modular river delta – IE, a dump off either into a larger river or on the coast, just to give some flavor to the way you choose to end your river’s flow. I made it modular so that you can take the sides off and put it in the corner of your board if you so desire.
You can see a walkthrough of all of the river sections in the video below, and the stills of this set can be found here
The FSG Rock Cluster Set
Everyone needs some cool splashes of flavor on the table, and this set is reminiscent of one of the first pieces of terrain I ever made, so I love them even more. They finish in a snap, are very inexpensive, and look great. They are the right size to be impassible terrain that blocks line of sight for infantry and provide cover for terrain. Beyond that, they’re rocks, so it’s hard to talk them up further.
The full set is six unique pieces, and they’re great either stand alone or grouped up to cover a larger section of the board (all six can do a great 2’ sq section).
You can see a walkthrough of the rocks in the video below, and the stills of this set can be found here
The FSG Road Set
The road section I’ve put together is meant to evoke a deteriorating blacktop approximately two lanes wide. A gamer can paint/flock them up in minutes and they’re good to go! They’ve got a very fine base texture so a couple of passes with some grey shades makes them look authentic, and a quick stripe template lets you drybrush the road markings on in second.
This set includes a lot of modular pieces similar to the river set to allow you to create whatever layout you’d like. It includes:
- 8 strait sections- 6 of which are 1’ long, 2 are slightly shorter to allow for variance so your sections don’t have to stick off the board in order to be complete – this mirrors the same concept of the rivers.
- Three of the strait sections show significant battle damage to break up the monotony of strait blacktop items:
- A Laser Burn
- Large caliber aircraft gun strafing
- A Mortar crater
- 2 90 degree road curves
- 4 partial road curves – 2 at 45 degrees, 2 at 30 degrees to allow for some variance
- Similar to the river model, I have created a ‘cul de sac’ piece that will allow you to terminate your road in the middle of the table if you want to.
- Again, similar to the river model, there is a forking section
- Two T-Intersections
- Two Four Way Intersections
The FSG Crater Set
The Blast Craters set is one of two sets I wasn’t completely able to finish the masters of before project launch. They’re an afternoon away from completion, however, so I’ll beg your pardon and promise they’ll be ready when everything else is to ship.
I want to provide blast craters at a price point that makes the consumer want to buy so many they never run out. I want battlefields riddles with divots at the end with all of the possible explosions. To that end I’ve created a multitude of craters in each size and enough sizes to accurately represent any level of explosion in any game. I’d expect no table would ever need more than two of each one to never run out of craters, ever. Of course, your mileage may vary.
The full set contains:
- 4 small blast craters
- 3 medium blast craters
- 3 large blast craters
- 2 extra large blast craters
- 2 war machine or building sized craters
You can see a walkthrough of the craters in the video below.
The FSG Scenic Base Set
My goal with our scenic bases is to create many flavors of scenic themes, and to produce bases for those themes en masse so that you can utilize one of our bases for every unit and model in your army. In addition, I want tons of variance in each base size – the goal would be that a player would have no more than 5 of the same copy of base in a 100 model army. I think this is a very attainable goal, and I’m surprised that other companies don’t attempt this (some do, don’t get me wrong) – if you’re going to make a product line, you should make a complete product line. It’s a natural conclusion in my opinion.
You can see a walkthrough of the craters in the video below, and stills of this set can be found here
So What's Next?
Assuming our project funds, we’ve set an ambitious goal of shipping all of our backers’ items in time to have them under the Christmas tree (good lord, time to think about Christmas already….). Hopefully, we’ll have a good indication of whether the project will fund ahead of the close date, and we can begin production sooner (which we will). In addition, the website will be set to go live right after ship, so that everyone can take advantage of the painting and modeling instructions we plan to include.
Of course we have them. They include:
- Two river/road intersection pieces
- A four piece, modular, mammoth hill
- Paint sets to match our styles
- More scenic bases
- Buildings, first as ruins, then as unruined items
- Objective markers
- The list, as they say, goes on, though I’m happy to consider suggestions – it’s what makes this hobby great, I might not think of something that may be the FIRST thing you consider.
We have created 29 possible packages spanning the price gambit, so you ought to be able to find a backer reward that gets you some cool items that you'll actually use. Feel free to reach out to me if you don't see a reward package that fits what you'd like, and I'll be happy to make a custom package to fit your needs.
I want to make sure that backers of this project get as significant a discount off of our expected MSRPs as possible, such is the benefit of backing us early. The discount, obviously, goes up with the package size - the trial backings are set at full MSRP and full shipping, while the bigger packages come out to almost 30% off of MSRP when you count the free shipping.
Speaking of shipping, you'll notice that each backer reward says either "shipping included" or "FREE shipping". There is a difference, don't you know - "shipping included" means the cost of shipping is calculated into your backer reward, "FREE shipping" means I've calculated the price of shipping, but I've deducted it from the total cost. In one case you cover shipping as part of your pledge (included) and in the other case I cover it (FREE). International backers please add $10 for additional shipping costs.
Where Do My Backing $$ go?
Inspired by Kickstarter’s transparency, and having planned out my needs pretty thoroughly, I’d like to share a little bit about where your dollar is spent:
- About 29% of each dollar goes into funding the molds themselves.
- Another 29% goes towards the cost of generating the backer rewards.
- 8-10% go to KS (well earned) and Amazon Payments, total.
- 20-45% go to shipping – so I averaged it at 32%. That leads to a very important topic
Yes, shipping is that big of a deal. As with all low cost items, shipping can be just as much as the item in question. In this case, the lower backer levels that include a single piece as a reward attribute a lot of their cost to the couriers delivering the package. I was pretty depressed when I had to up my goal from $20k to $30k to account for potential shipping costs.
It is what it is, and I do plan to ship as cost effectively as possible. Thankfully, the higher packages get, the more efficient it is to ship and the lower part shipping plays in your backer buck. That allows me to discount the cost off of MSRP further for you, the backer, and in the case of the largest packages I’m able to give free shipping (side note - there is a difference in "shipping included" and "free shipping" in the backer rewards section) and a pretty big chunk off of the MSRP of each item. It is win-win for everyone- and so, to that end, I present our
Our "Non-Stretch" Goal
I have to plan for a worst case scenario, but in order support my claim that I want everyone to win if the higher levels are backed, I will commit to provide a free piece to every backer pledging for a package (rock garden or higher backer level) IF 80% of the backer dollars come from folks pledging for packages. This shouldn’t be too hard to achieve. The piece I plan to provide is this shrine:
The master is not complete, but will be in time to ship with everything else.
Backer rewards above the single items are what we call packages. All of these are described in the reward section, but for a visual point of reference:
All models provided in this kickstarter are provided unpainted
All miniatures and models from other manufacturers are shown in pictures and videos for reference only and are not included in any of the backer packages.
Music used in videos:
Many Thanks to
- My beautiful wife, for putting up with me for the past 45 days or so with junk piled all over the house.
- My gaming crew, for playtesting with some of my casts and providing feedback
- Charlie “Stopthrust” Hartensteiner, for the loan of the Space Marines in the photos
- And, finally, Kickstarter for implementing this outlet for people with ideas
Risks and challenges
At this time, we don't forsee any issue fulfilling our commitments to our backers - we've calculated all costs and timelines accurately, revising each over and over. We're confident we've accomodated for everything....
Of course, as Mike Tyson said - "Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face..."
There are absolutely no risks with master models - all of the design and creation work is done. They're complete, so creating the mold, producing the items, and shipping your rewards is all that is left.
Let's talk a bit about the timeline though, so that we're all on the same page.... This project should close on Halloween, at which point production can begin and we have a very ambitious schedule set in order to get everything to you before Christmas. We anticipate everything will need to ship prior to December 15th, 2012.
In order to accomplish this, as soon as we are fairly certain of funding (whether it's tomorrow, next week, or 15 minutes before the project closes) we will begin completion of the molds (this will take a solid 2-3 weeks) and production of your backer rewards, which can overlap with mold production. Given the volume necessary to achieve our goal, we believe that sending out our product on time is ambitious but attainable.
Obviously we'd prefer to achieve our goal quicker into the project so that we can produce your rewards at a more liesurely schedule, and there is of course a big difference between 6 and 10 weeks for production time, but none of the materials necessary to complete the molds or items has a lead time, and labor has been arranged and is waiting for the word go. Barring last minute product shortages and winter illness, everything be produced in time.
The biggest challenge to you getting your reward by christmas is delivery by the USPS I'd say, but as long as we ship by our target date (and we expect to) that shouldn't be a problem.
Of course, I do work in a professional service industry (IT) and understand that communication is key to the mutual benefit of all parties. To that end, we do plan to keep everyone in the loop as the process moves forward with plenty of updates so you'll know well in advance of the product showing up at your door if we've hit a snag.
Please do not hesitate to ask any questions you can think of around this timeline.
Thanks for your support!
BradLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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