Thursday, May 12, 2011

Where Have All the Starports Gone?

Usually when I ply the trade-lanes of all the blogs out there I see stuff that gets me excited or inspired. Sometimes someone is doing something so awesome I stop what I'm doing and try my own hand at it. More often than not however I just muse about how cool it would be if I did half the cool stuff I've been seeing (then I carry on with my own projects).

Well, lately I've really been taking notice of people's "starport" projects. It's not just terrain, it's not just a campaign, nor is it a set of rules, but a living, breathing combination of all the above. Now your games are going to take place there, sure, but the games can be as varied as the aliens who live there. Not only have I taken notice, but I've been jealous too!

It's a great way to get focused, but still have variety and scope in what you're doing. You're making terrain, that's obvious, and you're not just building and painting a single army. You've got dock workers, labor-robots, maintenance machines, police units, civilians, adventurers, and more. It's perfect for skirmish and narrative style games but there's no reason a few platoons of troops can't roll in and tackle the local PDF garrison either.

When I think of starport projects, a few jump to mind immediately. First off is Ironworker Miller's blog of the same title. His use of old toy ships for shuttles and spacecraft is great and you can tell he has a vision that he is building from the ground up. His physics are grounded in gritty sci-fi without too much techno-wizardry and games like AE Bounty (something I've pondered here) are a natural fit.

Next up is Chris from Chris' Miniature Woes (who I recently nominated). He's just now getting started on his starport project, but judging from the quality of work he puts out as well the amount he gets finished, I have a feeling it will up and running in no time. As you can see here, like Ironworker's blog, the focus is not just on armed troops (but they need to be in there!) but also on the mundane stuff you would find sitting around and performing day-to-day activities.

Starport 3030 is just one of the many, many projects Scott has going on over at Four Color Figs. Scott's gone in a slightly different route though and tackled the starport in 15mm scale, certainly an appealing idea there. 15mm means the bigger the table, even bigger the starport. You're able to add more denizens at a cheaper price and the vehicles might be easier to come by. It all comes down to your preference in scale and what you have the most on hand for. It also matters what scale you want to game in, as well as possibly storage space.

So this is all of the starport stuff I have to offer up for your perusal. I know there's more out there, and I'd love to hear about it, so leave me some links. You've seen my monster queue by now, and honestly there's a part of me that wants to sell it all off and just focus on my own starport. As you know, "focus" and "Mik" do not go together however!

[EDIT: It looks like great minds think alike! My buddy Eli has just posted this exact same thing over on his blog, I See Lead People! I'm sure he and I share a lot of readers, but if you don't follow his blog (you should!) you've got it here. If you do...well now you've got double the starport goodness!]


  1. I'm slowly working towards a small spaceport, though I've a long way to go. I just picked up a Thunderbirds ship off ebay for that purpose.

  2. Thanks Mik! It's a terrain-type with a lot of scope - I'm making it as compatible as possible with the other terrain I have, so a good amount of the Starport will be in a state of disrepair, having been somewhat isolated for a good while (although there will be parts that will look shiny and new in comparison). In this way I'll be able to combine the stuff I make for it with the terrain I already have made - namely post-apoc and jungle to maximise the variety of boards my gaming group get to play over.

    You should definitely add some starport terrain to the queue :)