Game: Battlemaps: Dungeon Rooms I
Publisher: 0one Roleplaying Games
Review Dated: 17th, November 2002
Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10 [ Something special ]
Total Score: 10
Average Score: 5.00
There can be no doubt 0one Roleplaying Games produce masterwork cartography. Battlemaps: Dungeon Rooms is no exception – in fact, it pushes the standards of quality implied by that rule even higher.
The product is simple. For a couple of bucks you’ll get the most mouth-watering floorplans that you’re ever likely to see. It all depends on whether you have a couple of bucks, whether you use floorplans or whether you’ll suddenly run a mile when I mention that this is an electronic product. You get a 22-paged PDF for your money. You’ll need to print it off yourself.
Printing and the wonderful colour floorplans of the battlemaps don’t sit very well together. Perhaps it is just because of that that every single colour floorplan has a black and white alternative. Sure, the black and white copies aren’t quite as evocative as the colour ones but the quality is still high, they’re still likely to be the best thing your miniatures have ever been placed on and their presence alone gives you the choice as to which version you want to print. I do think floorplans do well by being printed and I do think you’ll want to have invulnerable copies of floorplans of this quality. By being able to print out floorplans you don’t need to ban coffee, crisps and other sources of stains from the gaming table whenever you want to use them. Even better, you’re able to scribble notes on them, cut up them up and stick them back together again in a different order.
These floorplans are designed so that they can be put together to form – that’s right – a dungeon. The summary page shows you one way in which the set of eight plans can be linked and it also puts all eight of the plans together on a single PDF sheet along with their page numbers. With the summary page at the start of the download its easy to jump straight to the map you want. There are actually nine different floorplan print-outs but the Dark Temple extends over two pages. Getting the layout right was important for this product, the colour images use up a lot of memory and you might find your computer struggling to meet your demands if you insist on flicking back and forth between pages.
Just how good is the artwork? It’s as good as any computer game I’ve seen – it has that realistic feel to it. Fortunately I’ve found a page of examples of 0one work that even includes a pair of floorplans and it’s at 0one’s website. Not only are the illustrations extremely good, the choice of locations depicted is wise. These are the locations that you are likely to use when its time to get the floorplans and minis out. Yet, there are enough unique touches to each of the illustrations so that it doesn’t look like yet-another dungeon floorplan.
A slight grumble is the logo and copyright text printed on each floorplan. Oh, it’s entirely justified. If I’d drawn these maps then I’d stamp my name on them too and then there’s the whole issue of copyright. However these maps are of such a high quality that it’s a shame to threaten the suspension of disbelief with the legal text.
PDFs are cheap and the quality of this product is really great – but I suspect you’ll find yourself at the end of the 22 pages before you know it. You can get a different set (albeit not of the same illustrative quality) that’ll give you nearly two dozen floorplans to print off for slightly less money. I don’t think this is a big issue either. I think you’ll want to save the first use of these floorplans for a critical point in your game – and for that the price is well worth it. Since these are floorplans bought off the internet in PDF format the chances of your players having seen them before are minute and I think that’ll enhance the “Wow!” factor for your players. I strongly suspect your players will say “Wow!” (or perhaps “Uh-oh!”) when these floorplans hit the table.
You’ve got the double-paged Dark Temple. The T shaped Crypt has a coffin surrounded by candles in the crossbar of the T shape and closed iron gates (with great shadow effects) at the base. The alchemist’s lab is your standard rectangular room but makes good use of a table (covered with all sorts of things) and barrels around the walls; it’s the sort of location where a good fight might break out and where you’ll want to know when someone’s been trapped between two barrels or want to be inspired as to when someone who’s climbed up onto the table might have put their foot in something dangerous. The armoury is on a similar idea, a standard shaped room but with wonderful and inspiration illustrations of shields and shelved weapons up against the wall. There’s a lot of red on the torture chamber but the skeleton stretched out on the table (or the ones hanging from the wall) aren’t going to need a Book of Vile Darkness style warning sticker. The entrance room is in the T shape and has a steps running up the straight of the T and then a three doors at each end of the crossbar. The fountain room is entirely circular and (as you might guess) has a large fountain in the middle. The rippling water effect here is impressive in the colour copies and again shadows through the iron bars of a closed door are used to great effect. The library finishes the download off, it’s another rectangular room but the shelves (which don’t choke the room) divide it up into smaller areas.
I’m very impressed by this product. I think there should be more – but I’m not sure whether that’s a price-per-floorplan call or just me wanting more of these great maps. These floorplans will drink your printer’s ink; even the black and white ones. That issue will remain a serious thorn in the side of this product. On the other hand, I’m seriously thinking about going to a high street printing shop and getting high quality colour print-outs done – and then I can get cheaper colour photocopies done (and the product does come with permission to photocopy for personal use).