Before we get to the game pieces, like the houses and roads, we have one more board piece to look at. Though not exactly a terrain tile, the island of Catan is surrounded by various ports where one can trade commodities. Likewise, the island of R'lyeh is surrounded by portals where one can transform one commodity into another.
The portals were a challenge in that there are a lot of them, all with the same design, which in my mind instantly said silicone mold and casting resin. I designed the portal to look like a stone ring surrounded by symbols, kind of reminiscent of a Stargate. I sculpted the original out of Sculpey. I rolled a large piece of Sculpey into a long snake, connected the ends into a ring and then flattened the top of the ring with a rolling pin. Then I sliced the flattened ring with a razor blade to make it look like there were a number of carved stones laid out in a circle. I used a screw driver and a bamboo skewer as tools to carve glyphs into the tops of each segment. I made a few random gouges in the clay with a razor to make the stones look cracked and worn. After it was baked, I mounted it to a piece of hardboard and sealed it with spray paint.
The player pieces were problematic on a number of fronts. Again, I had to make a lot of them fairly quickly, so they had to be simple and cheap. I went through several design ideas before settling on one that would fit all my needs as well as my budgetary and time constraints. I had it in my head that I wanted to use the little plastic Cthulhu idols in the "Bag of Cthulhu" that I love so much. But scale was a concern. I needed to somehow make the small ones bigger, or the big ones smaller. I decided to put the smaller ones on a pedestal made from sliced pvc pipe to create "shrines" that would serve to replace the cities of Catan. I Also used pvc pipe slices to make the "altars" that would be analogous to the settlements in Catan.
Painting the pieces was also problematic. The raw MDF wanted to soak up the paint like a sponge. It was hard to get a finish that didn't look like spray painted MDF. If I had more time, I could have employed some sort of sealer, I suppose. The color scheme was a challenge as well. I needed to use colors that differed from those of the color coded terrain tiles. I had already used most of the useful primary colors for those, so I decided to go with metallic colors for the game pieces. Only one problem. There are four player sets and only three easily differentiated metallic colors- silver, gold and copper. For the third one, I chose a metallic cobalt blue (largely because I hadn't used blue yet, and I happened to have some metallic blue spray paint). Even still, since the player pieces didn't have any florescence to them, it would be hard to see them in the odd lighting of our game room. The gold and the copper ended up looking too much alike, so I had to change to a darker color of copper. I also added some verdigris patina to the edges of the copper to further differentiate it. The blue was rather dark, and I was afraid it would be lost entirely in the predominantly red lighting of our room, so I dry brushed the blue pieces with a little white, which would glow purple in the black lights.
I got the pieces to be easily differentiated from one another in normal lighting, though I didn't like the way they looked. They were blocky and poorly painted, at least compared to the terrain tiles. Once I got them into the red and UV lighting of the Rogue Cthulhu game room, they were a complete mess. They were hard to see, and difficult to tell apart. I had to put up a small white light above the game board just to make it playable. I didn't even take any final pics of the completed pieces, as they frankly didn't look worth the time to photograph. The pic above of them on the painting table is pretty much how they look, at least the gold ones. Clearly, the game pieces need to be overhauled before next year.
So, since you have all been so patient following along on this rather lengthy build, I decided to put the final wrap-up pics here instead of making them another post. Here are the game terrain tiles, sans portals, all laid out on the floor.
Thanks for following along. This was a fun and ambitious build for me. More than once I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew, but I'm glad that I pushed myself to finish it. It was a very rewarding experience and I am very proud of the final product.
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.1- the Desolate Waste
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.2- the Pits of Despair
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.3- the Ravenous Cavern
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.4- the Cyclopean Ruins
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.5- the Sanguine Gorge
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.6- the Mountains of Madness
Cultists of R'lyeh pt.7- the Game Pieces, Portals, et Fini
Cultists of R'lyeh - After four years of wear and tear
Warrior of the Steppes - This beautiful set of Mongol-inspired LARP armor comes to us from Les Artisans d'Azure. The level of craftsmanship is just stunning. I'm also amused by how...
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