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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Gamer Bling: TerraTiles Modular Tabletop Terrain by RAINN Studios

Gamer Bling is a series of posts where I share and review amazing products, services, and accessories for tabletop role-playing games that really take gaming to the next level. In this article, I will be covering TerraTiles Modular Tabletop Terrain by RAINN Studios.
Headed by brothers, Heath & Seth Robinson, RAINN Studios is a game company hailing from Savoy, Illinois. They are creators of the popular medieval strategy board game, "War of Kings", and makers of the fantastic line of products featured in this article: TerraTiles.

Funded by a trio of successful Kickstarter campaigns, TerraTiles currently consists of three interchangeable sets: The Misty Morelands, Coasts and Rivers, and their most recent, Tundras & Wastelands. Also available are several companion products including 3D Standup Trees & Walls, and TerraTiles Elevation Risers.

TerraTiles make use of large nine-inch double-sided hexagonal tiles that fit together seamlessly in any orientation to provide amazing flexibility and versatility as a modular tabletop terrain system. 

Each box (which retails between $59 and $70 US) neatly contains sixty tiles (120 sides) and six half-tiles (to be used at the edge of the terrain play space). Each box can cover a 6x4-foot space. One side of each tile depicts various terrain features (such as greenery, woods, boulders, streams, roads, paths, bridges, etc.), and the other side a more open expanse suited for the set theme. 

TerraTiles are beautifully illustrated by Ian Schofield. Each tile is notably durable and printed in high-quality upon a matte anti-glare surface featuring linen texture (which works well to keep the tiles from sliding on smooth surfaces).

I have backed every TerraTile campaign on Kickstarter, and currently have two boxes of each the Misty Moorlands and Coasts and Rivers, two boxes of Risers, and multiple Trees and Walls Bundles. The most recent set, Tundras & Wastelands is presently still being manufactured and has yet to ship, but from experience, I expect them to be the same fantastic quality as the two previously released sets.

Below is a video of TerraTiles co-creator, Heath Robinson, presenting an "unboxing" of The Misty Moorlands set. 

The Pros –

Not only are TerraTiles an innovative take on a tabletop terrain system, but they are a solid, quality product as well.  I have closely inspected each-and-every-one of the more than 240 tiles (480 sides) that I own, and the printing and die cuts are flawless. All of the tiles nestle snugly together to form a beautiful seamless terrain that works exceptionally as a stand-alone terrain solution as well as a base for various 3D terrain pieces manufactured by other companies.

The most poignant selling-point TerraTiles has over almost every other terrain system is a combination of its affordability and its diversity. A single box provides near-endless configurations for a terrain play space that covers 24-square feet -- all for under $75 US! This knockout one-two combo is the main reason why I plan to continue to invest in any new sets of TerraTiles that RAINN Studios releases.

The Cons

TerraTiles are a system-neutral terrain solution. I actually hesitate to list this as a negative since I suspect in many instances it is a very positive aspect of the product (especially for various war games and combat systems)

RAINN Studios has gone out of the way to ensure that various terrain features depicted upon the tiles are as scale-neutral as possible -- meaning that the features should work for almost any size miniatures.

My tabletop setup with TerraTiles
by RAINN Sutdios utilizing
Clear Map Grids by ArcKnight.
However, this neutral approach also means that the terrain isn't immediately useful for many (most) tabletop role-playing games which often utilize some sort of grid system as the basis for game mechanics.  

Presently there is no in-house accessory or option offered by RAINN Studios to alleviate this problem.  

My solution was to invest in a product called Clear Map Grids manufactured by ArcKnight which allowed me to utilize the beautiful modular terrain of TerraTiles with an overlay of the 1-inch grid needed for my Pathfinder RPG & Dungeons & Dragons games.
It would be great to see RAINN Studios eventually offer a similar product for use with TerraTiles.

Product Rating
In conclusion, based on affordability, usability, and quality, I rate TerraTiles as a 4.5 / 5 Bling! product. They are a fantastic addition to any game group that utilizes miniatures. They are a valued part of my personal tabletop role-playing game collection, and I happily recommend their purchase to any fellow gamer.

As a personal side note, I would love to see the addition of a Deserts & Oases set of TerraTiles in the near future.

Also, be sure to check out RAINN Studios' newest project coming to Kickstarter this Summer: Incantris -- a game of magical combat where each player controls a team of three wizards. You can sign up on their website now find out more and to be notified of when the new project launches.

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