After the brain-work that went into not finishing last month's challenge, I thought I'd give this one a try, just to do something a bit more normal and less taxing. I own a few Heroscape sets, not a huge collection, but an adequate one. I haven't played in years, unfortunately, so for the most part it just sits around collecting dust. Also, I make no claim to being an expert Heroscape map builder. 'Raw novice' is probably a better title.
My goals with this one was to produce a view of the landscape in front of a fortification of some sort, since I have the castle walls set. I don't have multiples of that set though, so the castle would have to be a small one. I wanted a river with a bridge crossing, and the fort set up on a hillside above the surrounding terrain. And I only wanted to spend a single evening on it, so I could tear it down again and pack everything away before the kiddies wake up in the morning. My danger sense started going off when my wife glared at me as I started pulling out boxes and laying them on the dining room table.
I started unboxing at about 10pm, and finished at 1am, so the time spent was just about perfect. First, I started out just sorting the pieces. The last time I had had them out, it was to play with them with my son and nephew, ages 3 and 4, and they were not put back in any order whatsoever.
Next I laid out the base plates. This area is the underlying terrain for the ground in front of the Gate. I placed some large plates and a river running between them, with a bit of slope already added. The two different colors of water are supposed to indicate fast and slow water, and are not nearly as drastically differently colored when not looked at with a camera flash. The terrain types of the other base plates are mostly immaterial at this point, since most of them will be covered up later. In fact, you have to be careful not to use up the last piece of something you're going to want later on.
Then I decided where to place the bridge and gate pieces, so that I could build up the terrain around them properly. I decided I wanted the bridge to cross a wider spot in the river, then the gate just a few hexes up from that.
Next came the fort walls. I decided it would look better as a fortified wall with a gate in it rather than as a fort or castle. I could cover a wider piece of map, and it would be easier to see inside it with an open back. I assembled the wall so that it followed the terrain, then mounted it up on a ridge of hex pieces to make it tower even more over the surrounding area. In this picture, you can see that there are two levels. The front wall of the gate is double-height, to get a better angle and range on any attackers, as well as to improve defenses. Behind that is another platform that runs along the top of the rest of the walls, and also has a view down to the inside of the gate, so that if an attacker does succeed in opening the door, the defenders would still have a strong platform to attack from. In order to dislodge the defenders on the wall, an attacker would either have to bring ladders across the bridge and climb up the double tall front wall, or knock down the front gate, run to the far end of the walls where the ladders are located, and scale those, all while under fire.
Oh, and just as a note, the terrain is assumed to continue on behind the walls - it doesn't actually end abruptly in a cliff over nothingness like the map makes it look.
With the fort finished, it's time to top off the outside terrain. Extend the road from gate to end, finish the river as it passes alongside the walls, add a bit of mucky swamp area (dark green bit near the camera), and a few trees and wrecked out-buildings.
As a final touch, since I had some lava and other smooth pieces left unused, I tiled the inside of the fortifications. I did not have enough red and black tiles to cover the whole interior, so I was forced to use some blue as well. In this case, the blue doesn't mean rivers or water like it does elsewhere.
Here is an overhead view of the whole thing:
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