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Modular Trench System
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/03/2012 19:10:40

I like to compare square tiles to irregular shaped systems (it's an odd hobby, I know). The solution here is the use of a terrain background poster over which are arranged the abundantly detailed trench segments. Suitable for contemporary and post-apocalyptic play. The versatility of these tiles means that they have a high reusuability value - and are ideal for wargamers and RPGers alike, which makes the current price of $5.50 good value - especially when compared to preprint floor plan products.
-Billiam B. (bit.ly/rpgblog)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Modular Trench System
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Ground Set #14 - Trenches
by Chris H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/27/2012 12:35:41

This set is ideal for a WW1 game involving trench warfare at miniatures scale, but you might also find uses for them in other settings. The tiles use PDF layers and LZW’s beautifully-illustrated controls to provide an amazing variety of trench pieces. The English instructions have been much improved since Rich Crotty started editing the material, though there’s still a way to go for the text to reach the excellence of the artwork.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ground Set #14 - Trenches
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Ground Set #14 - Trenches
by David W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/19/2012 05:33:22

WOW! That is just about it!


This trench set is totally freakin' AMAZING! It features a "control panel" (that looks like it is DIRECTLY out of WWI) that allows you to toggle on options, and even control the way the trench runs.


I sat down last night and was in awe of the LIMITLESS possiblities that this set offers. You basically get the options of an "empty hole," one with skids as a floor, with puddles, without puddles, gear and tools strewn about...even the option with or without squares!


There was ONE MAJOR set-back with the set. The set boasts 6"x6" tiles when I laid them out on a piece of 20"x30" foamboard, I quickly realized the tiles are 5 3/4"... a whole 1/4" OFF! Even if I took away some stars for this error... I would STILL give it a total of 5/5 stars, because the ONE small detail is overshadowed by the AWESOMENESS that this set contains.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thank you for your review. We're glad you're enjoying Ground Set: Trenches. My suggestion for printing: turn off ANY “fit to page” options in your printer driver when you print out the tiles and click the "Actual Size" checkbox. This way, you'll get the whole 6 inch-wide tile. It's really important when You print to an A4 sized sheet. Have a good game and thank you!
The tomb of the Fallen Angel
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/28/2012 19:03:26

This “battlemap” is really a complete small dungeon at 1" = 5 ft. scale. The tomb itself is a fairly large room, but there are half a dozen or so other rooms/encounter areas included. The “information” file includes a key, but it’s written in very poor English, and although some of the bits are easy to decipher (“expiration” instead of “exit”), some are not (“Does not release his sword till then while his relics were not sent to him by the teleport”). The maps are beautifully drawn and richly detailed; the staircase map offers some slight customization via PDF layers. This product doesn’t include the isometric maps that add so much to some of LZW’s other products; I state this not as a complaint, but as a point of information.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The tomb of the Fallen Angel
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T-Builder - SWAMP
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2012 00:16:45

Start with a square (six inches to a side) of mud and grass, then layer in paths, water, graves, trees, and various other objects (including a Cthulhu statue) to create an immense variety of swamp tiles with T-Builder: Swamp. The LZW crew produces great artwork, and here they leverage the power of PDF layers to give you all the options listed before, and more. They’ve even included a clever “hide the corner” layer to give your water and path squares a more organic look. The artwork and use of PDF technology is top-notch. The instructions, written in English, contain many grammatical errors and awkward constructions, which occasionally creates some minor confusion, but not to the point where you can’t use the T-builder.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
T-Builder - SWAMP
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Battlemap - The Lumberman's House
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2012 00:15:36

This 2D map pack leverages the power of layers—not PDF layers, but simply stacking maps on top of each other on the tabletop. The base map depicts the titular house, plus a bit of the surrounding area (including a mine track, a patch of phosphorescent mushrooms, and more). Additional, smaller maps depict the upstairs and the roof, making it very easy to conceal and reveal the interior as needed during your game. The LZW crew even included a key to the map, although most of what’s labeled on the key is unnecessary; GMs know a saw, mine rails, chess board, etc. when they see it. The English text needs a good bit of cleanup, but the composition and execution of the artwork is great.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemap - The Lumberman's House
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E&I Wall Set #1
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2012 00:13:33

Even if you already own a set of print-and-build dungeon walls, you’d do well to consider adding this set to your collection. The walls themselves are easy to build, but the LZW crew has included a feature I haven’t seen anywhere else: a very simple system for linking the walls together using ordinary bobby pins. That’s a great innovation. An even better innovation is the “options ruler,” which harnesses the power of PDF layers better than LZW or anyone else (as far as I’ve seen) has ever done it before. It’s a little hard to explain what the options ruler does, but once you’ve seen it in action, you’ll love the unprecedented level and ease of customizability that the system offers. This set is pretty heavy on instructions, and the instructions file credits a copy editor; while the English instructions are noticeably better than in some earlier sets, more care still needs to be taken to bring the text up the excellence of the artwork. Normally, that would limit my rating to four stars, but the excellence and utility of the options ruler overrides that this time. “E&I,” by the way, stands for “exterior and interior.”



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
E&I Wall Set #1
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Forgotten Ruins
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2012 00:08:48

This nice-looking 3D model requires a good bit of precise cutting and lot of patience to assemble well. The artwork is very nice, but the walls, columns, and so on are unrealistically thin—the thickness of two sheets of cardstock. This affects both the verisimilitude and the sturdiness of the model. It’s not a bad piece, but there are better ruins models out there, especially given the relatively high price.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Forgotten Ruins
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Battlemap - Way to Cthulhu - FREE
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/23/2012 18:27:23

This three-room dungeon ending in a shrine to Cthulhu is a perfect jumping-on point if you’re curious about the Lord Zsezse Works line and want to “try before you buy.” The LZW team’s artistic excellence is on full display here. As I mentioned before, the product basically gives you three dungeon rooms, with several options for hooking in other methods of entry if you wish. As usual, LZW provides both top-down and isometric views of the scene, which really helps to bring the environment to life. Large JPG files are included for the GM’s reference and for use with virtual tabletop software. It’s hard to argue with free, although the visual aid PDF would have been more useful if it had been laid out for portrait viewing on-screen as well as portrait-orientation printing. But really, you can’t go wrong with this map set!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Battlemap - Way to Cthulhu - FREE
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Maps for The Vile Worm of the Eldritch Oak
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/23/2012 18:24:51

“The Vile Worm of the Eldritch Oak” is a Pathfinder adventure by Brave Halfling Publishing. I’m not familiar with that adventure, so I don’t know the narrative context for these maps. I do know that the artwork lives up to LZW’s pattern of excellence, without question. The package gives you battlemaps for three areas: the titular “eldritch oak” itself (cut away to reveal the small room inside), a torture chamber that apparently sits at a level below the oak, and the lair of the titular “vile worm” (who apparently lives below and is fed from the torture chamber). A bit more of a key or comments on how the artists envision the spatial relationship between the three areas would have been helpful for DMs like me who don’t know the storyline. If you want a 1" grid on the maps, use the PDF layers feature to turn on the grid layer; it’s off by default. JPG files are included for virtual tabletop users. The only things “missing” here are LZW’s famous isometric views, which always enhance their products. At any rate, this is a great map set, whether you intend to use it with the published “Vile Worm” adventure or just build your own scenario around this interesting set-piece.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Maps for The Vile Worm of the Eldritch Oak
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Ground set #12 - Crypt
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/20/2012 12:47:11

While some of the early ground sets from Lord Zsezse Works were cookie-cutter boring, this one scores a major success. The base product still offers essentially the same geometries as lower-numbered ground sets in the series, but good use of PDF layers and printable overlay objects brings a really impressive variety to these crypts. Turn the lights on and off, cover the place with spider webs, support the ceiling with columns, or add sarcophagi (not “graves,” as the publisher has it) and various types of containers. The printable overlay objects are not, by the way, redundant with the layers in the customizable tiles. Unfortunately, not all of the cutout objects show in the “Information” PDF actually appear in the PDF that holds the cutout objects. That, and LZW’s need for a good editor to help with the translation English, keep this product from reaching excellence; nevertheless, it’s very good and an unquestionably worthwhile purchase.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ground set #12 - Crypt
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Ground Set #9 - God mountain
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/20/2012 12:45:39

This early offering from LZW fits the pattern of their other low-numbered ground sets: fifteen 6" square tiles with identical backgrounds and varying pathways of a different material. The early sets featured fairly cookie-cutter geometries, with exactly the same layouts populating the various sets, which differed only in the materials used. In this set, the background “material” is clouds, and the foreground material is hard rock. The visual effect is actually very appealing (+1 star for that), but the geometries are very artificial and don’t really feel like a “mountain” at all. You could still use this for artificial stone structures that soar above the clouds, however.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ground Set #9 - God mountain
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Ground Set #5
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/20/2012 12:44:57

This early offering from LZW fits the pattern of their other low-numbered ground sets: fifteen 6" square tiles with identical backgrounds and varying pathways of a different material. In fact, the pictures on the index match the geometry, but not the materials, on the actual tiles, showing how cookie-cutter those early ground sets were. In this set, the background looks like very dirty or muddy grass, and the foreground material is asphalt. A few of the tiles have lane marker lines, but these are painted inconsistently. Despite that, you should be able to get good use out of these tiles for laying out roadways for a modern or, better, post-apocalyptic game. These tiles would be good for staging Car Wars battles, or an automotive skirmish in Gamma World.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ground Set #5
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Ruined House #2
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/13/2012 21:51:48

Like Ruined House #1, Ruined House #2 features great artwork and customizability, but requires at least an intermediate level of paper modeling skill and a substantial amount of free time to put together well. You can choose from four different wall styles, add snow to everything, and even add bullet holes to the outside walls, making Ruined House #2 a perfect companion for Ruined House #1. In all, it’s a great addition to LZW’s 3D offerings.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ruined House #2
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Ruined House #1
by Christopher H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/13/2012 21:51:31

You’ll need at least an intermediate level of paper modeling skill and a substantial amount of free time to put this complex piece together well, but the results will look great on your gaming table. The model offers more customizable features than I first realized; you can choose from two different wall styles, add snow to everything, and even add bullet holes to the plastered/stuccoed walls. In all, it’s a great addition to LZW’s 3D offerings.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ruined House #1
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