Can you imagine a terrain system which could allow you recreate almost any kind of battlefield on your home’s tabletop? Not printed, but realistic, beautiful looking battlefields that could be mistaken for dioramas? That you could interchange features to suit any battle scenario? But when you are done, you could easily fit them into a cupboard or locker? Which you could easily transfer to your gaming club for the pleasure of your mates, since your 4’x4’ table would weigh only 7 pounds and fit into a 1’x1’x1.5’ box? Because all these and more, can be done with Pedion.
Pedion is a Terrain System; a way for wargamers, role-players, and modelling hobbyists to recreate any battlefield* they wish to play on, without sacrificing aesthetics or requiring much room for storage. The principle of Pedion is that the board will consist of a number of terrain “tiles”, that is, square pieces each depicting specific terrain features: open plains, roads, rivers, forests, hills, crops etc. The tiles are 30x30cm and only 1cm thick (1’x1’x0.4”) and they connect to each other without any restriction on orientation. They are pre-painted with realistic features while still practical for miniature movement and combat. By combining the tiles, the players can form multiple layouts, covering most table sizes. The tiles are very lightweight, durable and take minimal space.
*ped·i·on, noun \ˈpedēən, from Ancient Greek πεδίον (“plain, field, flat surface”), πεδίον μάχης = battlefield
Pedion started by giving into my desire to play as many wargames as possible. I could not create a magnificent one or two piece terrain board as I (like many) have no space to permanently display or store it. I was not very happy with the 2D solution of a printed battlefield or unrealistic solution of extra terrain pieces over felt cloth or printed vinyl; so I went for a modular terrain board.
Pedion started as a homemade project, but I believe it has the potential to reach gamers worldwide – and that’s what the Kickstarter is for. This campaign is for mass producing and making Pedion Battlefield Sets commercially available.
The modular system has already undergone extensive design and prototyping. However, although much of the development process is standardised and the bases are machine-cut, the tiles are still mostly handmade.Through this Kickstarter campaign my aim is to a) determine if there is a market for pre-painted modular, expandable terrain; and b) generate an initial sum to invest in mass-production solutions, namely molds and matrices.
The Pedion system was designed, tested and re-designed, in order to fulfil a series of requirements which I considered crucial for efficient modular terrain. Therefore, if you are considering a 3D battlefield for your living room or club games, Pedion offers these advantages:
- Modularity – your terrain can be used to create multiple layouts, something that a fixed (or printed) board cannot do, however beautiful. Many other "modular" boards are actually larger boards simply cut into pieces. They can be stored away, but allow few, if any, variations. Pedion tiles support different gaming maps & scenarios, they are interchangeable and expandable!
- Efficient storage – Pedion tiles strike a "golden" medium between size and storage space. Neither to large or too small, they are designed to fit on a regular 30-40cm (1'-1.5') self and stack on one another, allowing you to close the cabinet door and keep them out of sight. Their 1cm (0.4") thickness allows them to be stacked easily. A 4’x4’ board with hills fills only aprox. 40cm when stacked.(see photo below)
- Lightweight – Pedion terrain is designed to be moved around. Carry it to friends houses, your gaming club, conventions or even ship it. Their materials are lightweight, as I avoided wood or heavy plastic. The above-mentioned 4'x4' board weighs only 8lbs (4kgr)!
- Durability - The tiles are "gaming resistant". Normal usage, dice rolls and storage should not see them bend, fray, shrink etc.
- Appearance - Realistic 3D terrain which creates the illusion of a real landscape. In order to fit seamlessly, all tiles come prepainted and flocked with uniform shades. The shapes and painting quality compete with those of modelling dioramas - but at the same time you can move your miniatures along and roll dice:
- Level Surface - The terrain is made for wargames and RPGs. You get realistic looking ground, with tiles which are designed to strike a fine balance between the illusion of a 3D environment and large flat (or gently sloped) surfaces where your figures do not fall over or get stuck when moving.
- Connectivity – Since the tiles are neither heavy nor thick, they have special connectors to all of their corners. They stick to each other, without any constraints in orientation, joining together and coming away with ease and without requiring to turn the board upside-down to reach the connectors.
- Multiple Scales - Pedion tiles are (for the time being) best suited for 15mm, 20mm and 28/32mm scale figures. Their terrain features are designed in sizes that make sense from 1/100 up to 1/56.
- "Vertical" expansion - Specific parts of each tile include magnetically enabled areas or points. So you add or remove features with magnetic bases, like trees, fences, extra hills, buildings etc
Basic Pedion Design parameters
The concept and implementation of the Pedion System has being ongoing for quite some time now, with many improvements, hurdles overcome and redesigns.For those of you reading all this for the first time, there is an extensive development journal in the form of blog posts which you could check out to see the progress. The aim is a System to satisfy the qualities listed above and still be mass-produced. While the development is ongoing, there are a series of design details which are fixed and will most likely make it to the final product. These are:
- The Pedion Tiles are Squares, with 30 cm (1') sides, and 10 mm (0.4") depth. The one-foot side helps with the usual board sizes used for wargames, fits in most cupboards and it is still large enough to layout easily and without many gaps showing. You can read more on Tile shape and Size decisions here.
- The base of each tile is a combination of solid foam sheets (XPS) with solid PVC foam sheets as basing material underneath. The tiles may also be improved to full lightweight durable plastic if this campaign is a success. Curious on the choice of materials? read this.
- The tiles connect to each other so that they snap and unsnap to each other without effort, and are truly interchangeable but still keep solidly connected (even when half the tile hangs over the table edge).
Each and every one of the Pedion 30x30 cm (1'x1') tiles represents a unique feature, and acts as a special battlefield characteristic. Thus you add variation to your terrain, and you may add or subtract tiles depending on your battle scenario layout (or your wargaming whim!).
Terrain features are not simply placed upon Pedion tiles (which you can do with any terrain you already own), but are actually a seamless part of the tile itself. This allows for better and realistic looking terrain, plus some specific capabilities built into the tiles. As a result of the development and prototyping process, the core Sets of Pedion tiles will comprise of six (6) Base Tile Types
(these Types can be expanded with new designs and even new Types as this Kickstarter campaign unfolds):
The so-called plain tile will be the most common type of them all, lacking any complex terrain features. Its purpose is to represent open ground, which usually imposes no penalties or modifiers to unit movement. It can also act as a base for any extra terrain pieces (like buildings) the players already have and want to include in their game.
This Type will be covered in flocked Grass (temperate, Spring) and will be found in all Pedion Battlefield Sets. New designs may be available through Stretch Goals.
These Pedion tiles can be used in a variety of ways. You can use them just to provide aesthetic variation between plain tiles (to avoid the "golf course" effect). But they can offer much more: they can be declared as broken/difficult ground in the battlefield, imposing any special modifiers and penalties your game system associates with this type of ground. Players can decide to declare as difficult ground the whole of the 30x30cm (1'x1') tile, or just inside the parts painted with a more earthen appearance. With the exception of some low rock features, Broken Ground tiles are again mostly flat to allow unit movement and any additional terrain object placement. They will be flocked/painted to correspond and blend with the rest of the battlefield type. For instance, the prototype Broken terrain tiles are painted to combine with the Plain Grass tiles. Learn more on Broken Ground and Grass Tiles in the development blog article.
- The concept of "Forest" tiles is really simple: dedicate an area on a tile (covering most of its surface) as forest/difficult terrain. This area is not only painted differently but will also be magnetically enabled, to add trees and other forest features on top. The main characteristics of the Forest tiles are:
- The players may place the 2 kinds of Forest tiles anywhere in a Pedion battlefield, or adjacent to each other, creating a larger forest; the "forest" borders are drawn in such a way so as to connect on one side!
- The "forest"area on each tile is defined by color and textures, and can be declared by the players to act as Forest, Difficult Terrain, or Cover Terrain, depending on their wargaming rules.
- The "forest" area DOES NOT PROTRUDE from the neighboring terrain, but seems to be a complete part of it. Therefore, miniatures and Unit bases do not have to "climb" when entering the forest, as is the case with most forest pieces on the market.
- The defined area is also magnetically enabled, either by metal "hard-points" or painted with magnetic primer. Thus, the player can place on top any kind of terrain feature (such as trees, bushes, logs, rocks etc) using magnetic bases.
- The tiles are designed this way in order to allow for a) aesthetic placement, b) different sizes of trees in case of smaller scales, and mainly c) enable the players to remove only the trees that are in the way of their units movement or placement, without either ruining the whole forest nor trying to fit the miniatures in the spaces among the trees.
- The magnetic connections are strong enough to protect the trees from scattering when the tile is moved accidentally. The metal hard-points allow for declaring the Forest tiles as other kinds of terrain, depending on your rules. For instance, by placing rock formations or bushes with magnetic bases, you can declare the tile as Cover terrain.
The borders of the forested area on the tiles are not randomly drawn but are digitized from real forests' borders near rural areas, as shown on satellite images. More on Forest Tiles and some videos here.
- There are four (4) basic Road tile designs: two kinds of Straight road, a 90 degree road turn and a "T" shaped intersection.
- The Road width is approx. 7 cm on the tiles (that's about 2.75"). This size corresponds to realistic road sizes for the whole 15mm to 28mm scale range Pedion is intended for. Therefore, the road can correspond to a 4m (13') wide road in 28mm scale (1/56), up to a 7m 2-lane (23') in 15mm scale (1/100). For smaller scales there will be tiles with less wide roads.
- The prototype tiles represented cobblestone covered road parts. Τhere will also be the option for dirt or asphalt roads. More "sci-fi" road styles will be available with stretch goals.
The Road tiles can be combined in an almost infinite number of ways over your gaming table. The final result is both practical and realistic, since the roads do not "protrude" from the surrounding surface, but look natural in the terrain. However, their modularity capabilities do not stop there; real roads have trees or other features on their sidelines, or are usually followed by lines of fences. So, the roadsides are magnetically enabled, in order for the players to place any magnet-based terrain feature they want next to them! Instead of predesignating walls, trees etc, you can place and remove features as you wish (or your gaming scenario dictates!). All the "dirt" area on the tiles is actually capable of holding terrain features. More info on Road tiles and a Video here.
There are three (3) discreet Hill tile designs: A full tile hill with an extra level piece, a 4/5 tile hill with an extra hill piece, and a 3/4 tile hill without extra levels.
- The three main hills are designed so that they can be fitted side-by-side, creating longer hill pieces, or they can be placed alone in different places across the battlefield.
- The hilltops include metal hardpoints. These can be used for the second-level pieces to snap onto, or for other magnetic terrain pieces from Pedion tiles, such as trees, walls etc.
- The hills include both steep and gentle sides. Thus the players can declare sides which are unapproachable, pose a penalty to climb or have no effect on movement.
As with all other Pedion tiles, the hills are actually part of the tile, rising seamlessly from the surrounding ground. However, keeping up with my modularity requirements, the hills consist of two pieces: the main hill tile, where the first elevation level rises, and a second, smaller "hill", which represents a second elevation level, that can be placed over the first one. So the players can either place a 2-level hill or two 1-level hills on their battlefield. The second level snaps magnetically over the main hill, staying in place. Each hill elevation rise is about 3cm (1.18"). More details and photos of hills on their development blog page.
Following the Pedion system logic, part of the tile can be designated as River or Stream. It depends on the players, the scenario and/or the rules to define what this means; if it is impassable, if it includes difficult ground crossings/fords, or if bridges are required. As with Road Tiles, River Tiles are designed to connect to each other, forming a meander and crossing the battlefield from one side to another (not necessarily opposite ones).
- Realistic-looking, 1 cm (0.4") depressed river tiles, with 1:3 slopes on river side for secure miniature positioning.
- There are six (6) discreet River tile designs: Three "straight" designs (river crossing from opposite sides) with different kinds of curving (one includes an islet) and two right "turns". They may be expanded through Stretch Goals.
- The River width is approx. 7 cm on the tiles (that's about 2.75") although it varies across the tile.This size corresponds to realistic river sizes for the whole 15mm to 28mm scale range Pedion is intended for. Therefore, the river can correspond to a 4m (13') stream in 28mm scale (1/56), up to a 7m wide river (23') in 15mm scale (1/100).
- The Riversides include metal hardpoints. These can be used for magnetic terrain pieces from Pedion tiles (trees, walls etc.) to snap onto.
I once more put my expertise in cartography and GIS to good use and digitized real-life data: the river flow and turns are not made-up, but copy parts of the flow of the Columbia River in the USA.
River tiles are among the most demanding tiles to produce, both regarding the time and the material needed. To keep the overall cost under control, the players may acquire two different versions of the River tiles: the Painted version or the Liquid Glass version which is more realistic but also a bit more expensive. The main difference between these versions is the addition of two-part resin on the river surface to emulate the water flow - check our the photos at the dev blog to see the difference.
There are six (6) base Reward Sets, each consisting of a predetermined collection of Tiles. These sets may be expanded and upgraded through Add-ons and/or Stretch Goals. Keep in mind that the tiles in the photographs are handmade prototypes and the final products may vary slightly.
I have decided not to charge the actual shipping costs at this time. Although I prefer to pledge in Kickstarters where I am aware of the shipping cost, not charging now but when the orders are ready to dispatch will allow us to:
- adjust costs depending on final Set weights,
- take into account any postage rate change, and
- most importantly, arrange for multiple shipments through logistics/distributions centers in places with potentially many orders (EU, USA, Canada) thus lowering the shipping costs substantially and saving you a lot of money!
So, instead of full postage charges, all prices include a base amount towards P&P, usually £5-7. This amount is probably enough to ensure free shipping to Greece and a good discount in final shipping costs to other places. However, to do your planning, here are some estimates for the extra shipping costs that will be required per Set and per Destination. Please note that these are worst case scenarios if no other multiple shipping solution is available. So, we estimate that:
- The 2'x3' and 3'x3' sets will need an additional £18 for EU and £24 for USA and the rest of the World.
- The 4'x4' sets will require an additional £30 for EU and £38 for USA and the rest of the World
- The 6'x4' ultra set will need an additional £37 for EU and £47 for USA and the rest of the World.
Again, these are worst case scenarios and your shipping cost will probably be much lower.
You can take advantage of this Kickstarter's prices and shipping, and pre-order a number of Add-ons or Upgrades to your terrain. To include any of these add-ons in your Battlefield reward, you simply add to your pledge the extra cost mentioned in each add-on. You can do this by the "manage your pledge" button on the top of this page.
Too many Options? You can fill out pledge Sets and Add-ons/Upgrades on a copy of David Yeomans' pledge calculator/spreadsheet and make your choices!
All prices are in British Pounds - to convert to your local currency you may use a tool like this.
Regarding our budget; in the graph below you will see the way we plan to distribute the pledged fund.
Risks and challenges
Pedion is multifaceted project, with lots of ambition and stretch goals; and as such, it poses a series of challenges. Although this is my first "created" Kickstarter project, I have extensive experience in both Project Management and Kickstarter projects (having being a backer to over 160 of them!). I can identify three possible issues that may arise in such a project, and which actually trouble many Kickstarters: faulty development, funds miscalculation and time delays.
The Pedion System has been extensively tested with multiple prototypes and playtesting, to ensure, insofar as I could, that it will operate as intended. While design details may change (e.g. in materials or the connection method), such redesign will only take place if it can successfully replace the already operational design of the Pedion boards. All in all, since the project is already working extremely well, development problems will not prohibit the project's fulfillment.
I will be more watchful of the other two banes of some KS projects: miscalculation of funds and time. These two, I will tackle by being prepared with a) extensive pricing and b) multi-layered business planning. More specifically:
1) I have calculated the cost, both in prices and man hours, of every procedure involved, from obtaining the materials to constructing the tiles. Then I introduced safety factors, all to calculate the prices of the Sets and add-ons.
2) I planned a detailed fund distribution, again with extensive safety margins.
3) I did not include shipping in pledge sums, but introduced a smaller sum towards P&P. I wanted to avoid the situation that some KS managers find themselves in, when post prices rise or their products weigh more than originally anticipated.
4) There are 3 different layers in the business plan, depending on the final amount pledged. Each layer calls for more expensive mass-production procedures, to account for the extra orders we will have.
5) All the production is conducted locally and mostly in-house. Therefore there is no risk of delays caused by relying on factories abroad, or due to long shipping times and customs clearances.
6) In the case of many pre-orders, many stretch goals and add-ons, delays become a real danger. One of the disadvantages of Pedion is that part of the production is always done by hand. To compensate, the estimated delivery times are already inflated, and we have already contacted a number of talented persons who can be hired for modelling and painting.
- (35 days)