Having just played my first game of ATZ with the new WWG TLX ground tiles this seems like a good time to run a review of them. I'll let Denny of WWG give you the sales spiel to let you know what you get with this set first -
"In an industry first, this city infrastructure terrain setting allows players to choose between three dynamic themes in all popular grid sizes: Clean urban sprawl, Dirty inner city squalor or Apocalyptic mayhem after the fall of society! Each richly detailed theme offers gamers the ability to build truly modular, truly multi-leveled, 3-D layouts on-the-fly. Design covered underground roadways, elevated road networks, overpasses, multi-lane highways, multi-story concrete precipices, inset alleys or scale it back to small local traffic areas. Choose between realistically scaled city streets or tight quarters roadways. This isn't just roads (though we've covered that in spades), this is; transit walls, railings, stairs (in 3 formats), ramps, pillar posts and all the raw components you need to create the exact city infrastructure layout you desire. And last but certainly not least, we've included full GSD support (automated cutter files) for those who own CraftRobo and or Silhouette SD machines!"
As I continue to play my ATZ campaign I'll carry on using a combination of clean and dirty tiles. As the campaign progresses the clean tiles will gradually be replaced by more and more dirty tiles until there will come a point where I'll only use dirty textured tiles. After a further passage of time, say in year two of the campaign, the apocalyptic tiles will start appearing and eventually, they will replace the dirty tiles. I salute WWG for their foresight in providing us zombie apocalypse gamers with these options!
I've wittered on a lot about how good they are but are there any negative aspects to these tiles? Well, yes, there are. First, and most importantly, they are very labour intensive to make. More so for me, as I use my own recipe for making them, which differs slightly from the official instructions. To make a standard 6" by 6" tile here's what I do.
I first print the template to an A4 self-adhesive sheet. I cut around the four sides then stick it to a piece of foamboard. Then I cut the foamboard out along with the two slots per side. This is then glued to a piece of mounting card cut to size. I use 3M Photomount to glue them together. The mounting card is glued to the foamcard on the opposite side of the template. Slots are not cut out of the mounting card. The reason for gluing the mounting card to the foamboard is twofold. Most foamboard is only 3/16ths of an inch thick. The sides of the ground tiles are 1/4 of an inch thick. Adding the mounting card increases the thickness to 1/4" - clever, huh? The second reason is that it adds strength and helps to prevent warping.
My next stage in the construction is to glue a 6" square piece of thin card to the base of the tile where the template is. I make little cuts about 1/4" deep where each of the slots are to make it easier to fit the tabs that hold the tiles together. I use Uhu clear adhesive to glue this in place. The reason for adding this is to add strength to the underside of the slots. I felt that leaving them just the thickness of my photopaper would cause them to tear over time.
The final part is to print out the ground tile on good quality matte photo paper. I tried printing one out on the self-adhesive paper but the print quality was very poor. After cutting out the ground tile, I stick it in place using my aerosol spray again. They're great for covering large areas. Finally, I paint the edges of the tile that are showing white. Long winded? You bet! But, like all of my card models, these are built to last.
By the way, the easy job is making the connector tabs. They are printed onto a sheet of self-adhesive paper, stuck onto a piece of foamboard and then cut out. I'm glad something is easy to make with this project! As work on my Mayhem Police Station faltered, I was able to make enough tiles to cover a 4' square area in just over a month.
There is another possible downside to these tiles and that is the tabs. When I made the board you see above I put it together in three 1' by 3' strips. The best way to attach the tabs, I found, is from below. Making the three strips was fine but oh, what a nightmare it was when I tried to clip them together! Strips one and two (the top and middle third) went together relatively easily. But when I tried to clip the third strip in place the whole structure just fell apart. Cue much swearing! My arms just weren't long enough or numerous enough to hold everything in place whilst I tried to attach that elusive bottom third of the board. When I did get them stuck in place I then had to flip the whole lot over so that it was the right way up. Again, it came apart as I attempted this maneuvre! Cue more swearing!
However, this lead me to a discovery - not every slot needs to have a tab to hold it in place. This also taught me another lesson. It is better to glue four 6" tiles together to make a 12" by 12" single tile than four separate 6" by 6" tiles. This is something I'd already done. I must have foresaw this potential problem! I also have some 6" by 12" tiles made. I would not advise making any tiles bigger than 12" square unless you're planning on a permanent layout.
Eventually, I did get the board made, using far fewer tabs than I envisaged using, but it was an interesting exercise and I'll know better next time. We learn from our mistakes, huh?
Tile sizes are 3" by 3" (rarely used), 3" by 6" (seldom used) and 6" by 6" (used extensively). This gives you a lot of leeway in sizing your boards for your buildings to fit. Most of the old style WWG buildings were made with a 7" square footprint or some multiple of that. I have no intention of ditching all of the old buildings I've made - that would just be silly. But the beauty of the TLX system is that it is versatile enough to accomodate those odd sized buildings.
The TLX Streets of Legend set costs $11.95 from the WWG website and is fantastic value for money, when you consider that there is no limit to the amount of tiles you can make. In case anyone is new to this blog or World Works Games, TLX stands for TerrainLinx.