Wednesday, 18 August 2010

WWG Streets of Legend TLX Set

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!"
Here's a photo of the layout that I used for the recent Quarantine Breakout scenario, minus the buildings, which shows a 3' by 3' board. The main road, running north/south is 10" wide. Central highway sections can extend this by 6" per tile so that you could replicate multi-lane freeways so prevalent in America. Here in the UK, our motorways are rarely wider than three lanes in each direction. The road that runs east/west is two lanes wide with a road width of 4" flanked by 1" wide pavements. This is roughly the size of the old style tiles found in the Streets of Mayhem set. There are numerous reasons why I am such a big fan of this set but the primary reason is this - versatility. Your only limit to what you can build now is your imagination... oh, and probably the size of your gaming table! The tiles come with no grid, 1" grid and 1.5" grid options. My preference is always for no grid as that looks the most realistic. Having said that, the new grids on the 1" and 1.5" grid tiles are not too obtrusive. Then comes the icing on the cake, a choice of three textures for your tiles - clean, dirty and apocalyptic. The apocalyptic tiles are not as numerous as the other two types but that's not a major issue. For the board that I've shown here, all of the tiles in the top half of the photo have the dirty textures to represent the run-down quarantined area, whilst those in the bottom half of the photo are clean textured tiles, representing the cleaner safe zone. This perfectly demonstrates how the tiles can have an influence on the scenario you're playing.
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.


  1. It's getting harder and harder for me not to use paper terrain. The clean / dirty / p-a terrain tiles are a clever idea.
    Anyway, I've just finished a lot of
    do-it-yourself roads myself, so I don't think I really need this...BUT all your batreps look absolutely fabantastic, especially the last one.

    Whiteface / Oliver

  2. Thanks, Oliver. If you have something that works just as well then carry on using it. You don't NEED this product, but my god, it does look superb!

  3. I wrote fabantastic. You see, this stunning terrain crushed my language system. Couldn't decide between fabulous and fantastic. ;o)
    I have just roads, no urban terrain not to mention urban buildings - I guess my group of survivors has to stay in the suburbs or countryside.

    On a side note: I've written a little post about my first roads last week. This was mainly to get my own zombie blog started and to motivate me to start my little campaign this month.

  4. Fantastic work on the new road sections Bryan, I must give them a try. Pat

  5. @Oliver. I knew what you meant, mate. I never criticise people for their spelling or grammar, and especially not if they're foreign. Although I once had a German penpal in the 1990's who was always asking me to criticise her spelling, grammar and use of the English language. Strange woman! Anyway, I'm going to check out your blog now. I've been a quiet lurker of your blog posts ever since you became a follower of mine but if you're doing a blog dedicated to zombie gaming I may not be quite so quiet.

    @Pat. Thanks for the nice words. I hope you learn something from my experience of building them. Best of luck to you!

  6. Great stuff Bryan, but all I can think about is all that work! Street layout is so important that I will have to face this elephant and think about upgrading at some point.

  7. Thanks, Willy. I must have had this set for half a year or more before I plucked up the courage to try making a few tiles. It is a big challenge to get started and then to keep on going. If you're stuck for time, as I know you are, you might want to think of alternative, less labour intensive ideas. If you follow my method of construction be prepared for some long hours!

  8. Yeppers. I was just over at Whiteface's new blog and his streets turned out pretty darned nice. I may have to copy cat him. I have really been wanting to get some rural highways together without sidewalks and that may be the ticket.

  9. Yep, Whiteface has a new zombie blog and I can highly recommend it to all you ATZ fans. Oliver's roads have come out really well - simple but effective and he's done a great job with the road markings. Hats off to Oliver!

  10. Oops, I forgot to mention, Whiteface/Oliver's blog is called Obviously Zed. You can find a link for it in the sidebar under the section My Blog List. Pop in and say hello!

  11. Bryan, I don't know if you check your email account from the THW yahoo Group regularly (or at all), but I've send you a "short" question this morning.

    Whiteface / Oliver

  12. Oliver, I rarely check the THW Yahoo group but I saw your message in the inbox of Microsoft Outlook. I've sent you a lengthy reply. Sorry it took so long to get back to you but this has been a rare day with me being away from home all day!