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Battlemap - In the Bowels of the Mountain
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/11/2012 12:05:22
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/04/11/tabletop-review-battlem-
ap-bowels-of-the-mountain/

This map set from Lord Zsezse Works is a layered map of a mountain in more ways than one. The PDFs have a grid layer that can be turned on and off and the map itself is broken into three parts: a base layer, an optional underground lake, and the mountaintop. The base map is 2′ square and the mountain top covers probably 75% of the map below it.

The download also includes 200 DPI .JPG files of these layers with and without maps that is good for use with virtual table-top programs. I’m always appreciative when a publisher takes the extra step in making their work available in multiple formats.

The only issues I had with this download was that I thought there was a little confusion with the instructions for assembling the map parts. Usually when I put something like this together I would glue the map tiles down to foam core and then laminate them. I couldn’t understand how the cave lake would fit seamlessly into this three-tiered map set. The answer is simple enough….it doesn’t. Because of this confusion on my part I decided to print the tiles up at home, cut them out, and do a dry fit before deciding if I was going to go ahead and finish them up.


There is nothing wrong with the map set with the exception that it appears to be made of of three levels and the instructions don’t do much to point out that the lake doesn’t really form another layer, it can just be laid over the cave base to turn the large cavern into a lake instead. My confusion was me trying to reconcile this disparity which I couldn’t see outright. If you like to mount your maps on foam core like I do, I would only mount the base cavern layer and the upper mountaintop layer. The lake I would just glue together on a thin piece of cardstock or use the lamination to merge the halves.

I wish that there was just a little bit more to the map. While the map does a great job of showing the inside of the mountain, it is a bit lacking when it comes to the cave/mine entrance. To get the entrance you really need to spend another $5 to get the Lumberman’s House battlemap.

Overall, a good map and something I do plan on using in my campaign.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemap - In the Bowels of the Mountain
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Battlemap - The Sussurus Tomb
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2012 18:27:56
In Zseze's World The Sussurus Tomb Battlemap the quality of the computer art is arrestingly beautiful. Make sure you print onto something glossy which does these tiles justice! The sections in the PDFs have wide margins which is always a good thing if you don't want to fiddle too much with print settings. Extra poster size jpgs will be ideal for use in computer programs, tablets, and for your own modifications.
Slick professional, eye-bleedingly good!
-Billiam B.
bit.ly/rpgblog

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemap - The Sussurus Tomb
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T-Builder - Undead haunt
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/06/2012 01:00:41
The T-Builder line uses PDF layers and form controls to let you lay various bits on top of a basic background. It’s a little bit like using Dundjinni, only much more constrained. The Undead Haunt pack lets you place various kinds of flooring, furnishings, blood splatters, and so on over a basic ground texture that looks like gray dirt with a light covering of gray grass. You can also fill in the whole area with a decorated tile floor, but you’ll have to click 36 or 72 times to make it happen; there really ought to be an option to lay down all of these things at once. The system is not difficult to use once you get the hang of it, but it’s slow and cumbersome even for a skilled user. The results are serviceable, but not nearly as nice as those produced by an artist creating a specific tile. Still, the ability to customize is welcome, and it’s kind of fun to play with. The instructions try to help users master the T-Builder system, but the English composition/translation is occasionally very poor. You can’t save your work; this is not the publisher’s fault (and the publisher warns about this in the instructions, even highlighting the statement in red), but it does highlight the inherent limitations of publishing such a tool as a PDF. (Yes, this review is basically the same as for all the other T-Builder packs, because they’re pretty much all the same except for the artwork.)

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
T-Builder - Undead haunt
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T-Builder - Mansion
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/06/2012 00:22:05
The T-Builder line uses PDF layers and form controls to let you lay various bits on top of a basic background. It’s a little bit like using Dundjinni, only much more constrained. The Mansion pack lets you place various kinds of furniture on one of three floor styles (two wood, one stone). There is no shortcut—or at least I could not find one—for filling the entire area with your chosen floor, so it takes 108 clicks (3 per square x 36 squares) to fill in the entire tile with a light brown floor. The system is not difficult to use once you get the hang of it, but it’s slow and cumbersome even for a skilled user. The results are serviceable, but not nearly as nice as those produced by an artist creating a specific tile. Still, the ability to customize is welcome, and it’s kind of fun to play with. The instructions try to help users master the T-Builder system, but the English composition/translation is occasionally very poor. You can’t save your work; this is not the publisher’s fault (and the publisher warns about this in the instructions, even highlighting the statement in red), but it does highlight the inherent limitations of publishing such a tool as a PDF.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
T-Builder - Mansion
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T-Builder - Fireworld
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/05/2012 18:46:20
The T-Builder line uses PDF layers and form controls to let you lay various bits on top of a basic background. The Fireworld pack lets you place molten lava, rocks, adventuring gear, and other features on a ground layer resembling cooled lava. The system is not difficult to use once you get the hang of it, but it’s slow and cumbersome even for a skilled user. The results are serviceable, but not nearly as nice as those produced by an artist creating a specific tile. Still, the ability to customize is welcome, and it’s kind of fun to play with. The instructions try to help users master the T-Builder system, but the English composition/translation is occasionally very poor. You can’t save your work; this is not the publisher’s fault (and the publisher warns about this in the instructions, even highlighting the statement in red), but it does highlight the inherent limitations of publishing such a tool as a PDF. As a bonus, the publisher has included standees of a few elemental figures, but why is the crystalline/water elemental wearing boxing gloves?

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
T-Builder - Fireworld
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T-Builder - Desert
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/05/2012 18:37:01
The T-Builder line uses PDF layers and form controls to let you lay various bits on top of a basic background. The desert pack lets you place three different types of walls, two different types of pits, and several varieties of doors, pillars, plants, chests, and such on a sandy base layer. The system is not difficult to use once you get the hang of it, but it’s slow and cumbersome even for a skilled user. The results are serviceable, but not nearly as nice as those produced by an artist creating a specific tile. Still, the ability to customize is welcome. The instructions try to help users master the T-Builder system, but the English composition/translation is occasionally very poor (“If you want to rebuild a lower layer, turns off they what there are higher” and the like). You can’t save your work; this is not the publisher’s fault (and the publisher warns about this in the instructions, even highlighting the statement in red), but it does highlight the inherent limitations of publishing such a tool as a PDF.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
T-Builder - Desert
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Ruined House #1
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/03/2012 07:02:47
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/04/03/tabletop-review-paper-m-
odel-ruined-house-1/

Some GMs prefer a minimalist approach to running a game, just PC sheets and dice. Others prefer simple maps and miniatures, while others like to use a whole array of props and game aids to augment their game. This PDF release from Lord Zsezse Works aims to appeal to the latter group of GMs who want to be able to produce a variety of ruined houses for their gaming table.

This download consists of two PDFs and a small .TXT file. Right away I was impressed by this download for the simple fact that the text file was little note thanking me for the purchase and a couple of email addresses for any suggestions to their product. One PDF was the instructions for the paper model, and the larger PDF, the bulk of the download, was the model. The ruined house has a slew of printing options. There were different bases, roofs, windows, and doors to give the GM a large multitude of different ruined houses.

I went with the basic, “default” options, and I assembled the model according to the instructions. It cost me $5 to get the parts professionally printed and I was appreciative that the producer packed the houses’ parts as close together as possible to reduce the number of pages. This made it a bit more difficult to cut the parts out of the cardstock, but it was a minor inconvenience that was quickly forgotten.

Assembling the model wasn’t terribly difficult, taking a couple of hours, but there were a few “fiddly” parts. As I started to put it together, my initial thoughts regarding the condensed printing changed. I didn’t like that the fold lines were so prominently printed on the model, while at the same time a couple of outlines, most notably on the roof for the chimney stack and on the wall for another chimney portion, were absent. Six of the model’s parts were glued on to other pieces of the model. I think that the model could have been designed such that either double sided printing could have been an option or entire pages could be glued together prior to cutting out the pieces. Some of the “fiddly” issues with this model included trying to get parts to line up just right. Even when lined up, there was a fair amount of white cardboard showing through. This could have been reduced by suggesting some edging with a marker or by filling in the edges of the uncolored glue areas.

My finished model was simply “ok”. I’m not a highly experienced at assembling paper models by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have several other models under my belt. Some of the issues with this model are just some complexity issues due to the fact the house is ruined, and some are just by design. The rafters glued onto the second story have to be precisely placed because they pressure-fit the halves together.

Overall the model has a lot of potential, especially when considering all of the printing options. This is one of those models where the second time you put one together you can make a few tweaks to the instructions to compensate for problems…. or lack of experience.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ruined House #1
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Battlemap - In the Bowels of the Mountain
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/14/2012 08:12:50
This is pdf includes 4 mountain and cave-themed, full color, maps. And the greatest thing ever- the beautiful maps come in both grid and no-grid versions! (Thanks!)

The 4 full-sized color maps included are JPEGS and can be printed out full-sized, if thats your thing. Two of the full-sized maps are massive 24"x24" cave interiors; another is an 11"x12" cave lake detail; and lastly a 24"x24" mountain detail.

Also included are 3 pdf's, which divide the above maps into 8.5"x11" sectors, for at-home printing. Once again, it must be stressed that these full-color map sections can be printed with or without the grid (YAY!).

A very nice product, reflecting the quality that Lord Zsezse Works puts into their pdf's. Highly recommended!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemap - In the Bowels of the Mountain
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Ground Set #4
by Paul G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2012 16:31:03
Excellent value for a good straightforward set with some nice bright artwork

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ground Set #4
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T-Builder - Mansion
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/21/2012 10:14:47
A very easy method of creating quick maps for RPGs that use miniatures. One drawback is that the maps cannot be saved for future use (though anyone familiar with print-to-PDF utilities should be able to work around this).

Overall, this is a reasonably priced tool for making quick custom miniature maps.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
T-Builder - Mansion
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T-Builder - Undead haunt
by William W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/21/2012 10:13:44
A very easy method of creating quick maps for RPGs that use miniatures. One drawback is that the maps cannot be saved for future use (though anyone familiar with print-to-PDF utilities should be able to work around this).

Overall, this is a reasonably priced tool for making quick custom miniature maps.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
T-Builder - Undead haunt
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Ground Set #4
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/15/2012 20:23:45
Like all of LZW’s basic “Ground Sets,” this set features paths of one texture running through backgrounds of another, in fifteen standard patterns. For Set #4, the paths are light brown and pebbled or gravelly, and the surrounding texture is grassy. The artwork is great and the layouts are skillfully executed, if somewhat mundane and uninspiring. This set doesn’t inspire many story ideas, but could easily be used to lay out a scene in a park or perhaps—especially if combined with the related expansion set—a hedge maze.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ground Set #4
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Ancient Worlds - Column Circle
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/12/2012 23:00:30
Like most of LZW’s 3D models, the Column Circle is beautifully illustrated and looks great on the table. If you’re willing to put in the time to build the pieces carefully, you’ll have a really nice set of 3D terrain. You might find yourself building this set repeatedly as you turn the various layers on and off to get different texture effects. I wrote almost exactly the same words for my review of the Megalith Circle set as well; in my judgment, the Column Circle is more time-consuming to build than the Megalith Circle, because the shapes are more complex. If you’re interested in this set, you probably ought to take a look at the Ancient Worlds Bundle instead of buying this set individually.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ancient Worlds - Column Circle
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Ancient Worlds - Megalith Circle
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/12/2012 22:56:18
Like most of LZW’s 3D models, the Megalith Circle is beautifully illustrated and looks great on the table. If you’re willing to put in the time to build the pieces carefully, you’ll have a really nice set of 3D terrain. The only question you’ll need to ask yourself is whether the considerable time investment in building the pieces is worth the use you’ll get out of them. You might find yourself building this set repeatedly as you turn the various layers on and off to get different effects. If you’re interested in this set, you probably ought to take a look at the Ancient Worlds Bundle instead of buying this set individually.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ancient Worlds - Megalith Circle
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Battlemap - Crystal Cave
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/12/2012 22:12:28
I use and review a lot of terrain products, both printable and pre-printed. Good terrain and map products give me attractive and interesting stages for the miniatures to play out combat scenes; the best ones also plant story ideas in my head. By those criteria, the Crystal Cave is one of the best 2D printable terrain products I’ve encountered recently—maybe even the very best one that I added to my collection in 2012. The map is beautifully illustrated and evocative. The gridded map is positively huge, measuring 37" x 31" when fully assembled (and requiring twenty sheets of paper)! The package also includes isometric views of the whole complex and individual “rooms,” plus full-sized files for poster printing and very large (3,700 x 3,700 pixels) JPEG files for use in online tabletop software. LZW has really given DMs the whole package here! I gave this product four stars instead of five for two reasons. First, the maps, especially the ones you’d print at home, contain altogether too much black around the edges of the caverns for my taste. I’d like to see a tighter trim there. Second, although the product is marketed in English to an Anglophone audience, the English grammar is terrible. “These stone pillars are dangerous. If you want go to the other side you need go away them.” “The aim of the game may be the defeat of the monster what live in the cave, or the crossing on the cave.” I care too much about words to give such a product all five stars. LZW needs a collaborator who speaks English (or American) well to really make their prose shine like their pictures.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemap - Crystal Cave
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