One of the problems with getting into Infinity and playing the game can be the simple issue of scenery! Every Infinity player will tell you that construction of the table is the most important part of getting a great game. Too open and every time you move you’ll be ARO’d by multiple units. Too close and direct template weapons like Flamethrowers and Chain-Rifles become dominant and HMG’s and Snipers become redundant.
I’m not however intending to throw my two pence (cents) into the whole how to make a great table, but rather to talk about how you actually get a table of scenery in the first place! If you are lucky, then you are part of a great community group or go to a FLGS where there are tables of scenery available, either provided by the store or by other experienced players. It doesn’t have to even be “Infinity” terrain. Some of our most fun games have been played on the old Warhammer Necromunda terrain.
Of course you could go out and buy some scenery and a gaming mat from various places! Typically that will set you back about £200 for an entire table of scenery and as someone new to the game you might not want to be shelling out that sort of money on a gaming table, so why not make your own?
Where to start?
So you’ve just got into the game and you have maybe bought a starter box – or not. A good place to start is simply to buy in some of the card board scenery packs from Infinity. there are currently 4 types (although 3 are essentially the same, and the Red Veil new terrain has yet to be released as a separate pack). You can buy each pack of terrain for about £6-8 and each comes with buildings and crates. If you want to make an entire table of this scenery them you’ll need about 4-5 packs of scenery. This will give you both enough table density to play a good game put also to add some height by stacking the buildings to make 2 storey buildings.
On the Infinity Website you can also find in the download section the MagLev Train printable scenery which includes the 6 carriage MagLev train (which is fun to include on a map) but also more importantly various crates which are about the same size as the Scenery Pack ones (although they have no ladders). Print theses on 200 gram per square meter card and you are good to go! Some people suggest selo-taping some pennies into them to give them extra weight.
But my table is too small!
Infinity is payed in a large 4’x4′ playing surface – and although its OK to play on the 2’x3′ maps or a smaller area, these tables won’t allow you to get full use out of Snipers, HMG’s and Missile launchers. Of course not many people have access to a 4’x4′ dining room table! Some ways around this include having some fold up tables (which isn’t very convenient for storage etc), or buying a table topper!
If you go to B&Q or other BIY store you can pick up a sheet of 9-12mm MDF or Chipboard. These are the best two materials to make a table topper and this thickness will prevent any bowing at the edges. When you buy it it might come up as a 8×4 sheet. Not to worry – they will often cut it up for you. When I got mine done rather than go for 4×4 I went for a 2 3×4 and a 2×4 sheet. This allowed me to put together the 3×4 and 2×4 to make a 5×4 leaving a nice area to the side of the table to roll rice etc (Also a left over 3×4 sheet for X-Wing). Making smaller sheets which I put together also proved to be easier to carry about and to store!
Do I need a mat?
No… Well that was short! You of course can play on any surface, there is no need to lay down a 4×4 mat, but they do look great. At first, don’t worry about mats and just mark out the area (on my boards I added the borders in marker). If you want to do a mat in the cheap one option is to print it and stick it together yourself. My ‘mat’ is made up of 17 A4 sheets cut up and glued down to make a great table top. Obviously this isn’t easy to transport as I can’t roll it up but its great for playing at home.
Building your own terrain?
So you want to move on from the Scenery packs and make your table your own. Well the way I started was quite simply cardboard boxes. Take one cereal box, turn it inside out so you have a brown side – and make into a house! Try and keep the scale the same – so 7 cm per story. Doors are about 3cm x 5 cm.
Next if you want a nicer finish you can take standard cardboard and layer over coloured card over the top for some simple decoration.
You can also create some more complicated buildings with interiors and roof sections. I used some old flooring to create a floor for this PanO recruitment complex.
So with just some cardboard you can make some quite good tables of scenery with enough variation in height and interiors to give lots of options in the game.
Once you’ve had some fun cutting up your cereal packets you might me up for some more serious shoddy crafting. There are lots of materials you might choose to use for creating tables including Balsa, Plasticard and Cad Backed Styrofoam.
The material I choose was balsa wood. Balsa is easy to cut with either a craft knife for thing sections (like walls) or a small hack saw for 3/4-1cm thickness. You can create very neat sections and assemble them using super glue, PVA or a hot glue gun. You can start by planning out the style of the buildings (some simple block shapes with doors and roofs) before you start cutting and end up with a good selection of similar scenery to bulk up a table.
Once you have made some basic designs you can be a bit mode adventurous and make some larger multis try buildings which will make great centre pieces for your table and block lines of fire across. Building in layers allows a great way to access each level to allow for good usability in game play.
You can make even some larger buildings with complex interiors – although some players frown on playing with such large complexes (I think they are great though!)
Once you have completed the buildings you can spray paint them either using simple cans of spray paint or primer (£8 per bottle) or if you have one use an air gun. Now just go on google and search out some signage and manga-esque images and stick them on.
Finally you’ll have a table which is your own, ready for some serious games. Think about how you’ll set it up and transport it so as not to damage it. For that additional bit of interest you can add is some toddy craft trees and create small wood lands (Saturation Zone, Low Visibility Zone, Difficult Terrain) which will give your table that added extra dimension. Worried about gaps in the fire lanes – just fill them up with things like old toy cars etc.