Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Blasted Planet – Smoke Effects at BAO!

GSI Blasted Planet Table 
As some of you in the blogosphere might have noticed, the Blasted Planet table was at the Bay Area Open.   I was hesitant to let them include it because I’ve never designed a table for anyone else, let alone for a competition.   It was well received, which I’m extremely glad for.  The last thing I wanted to do was mess up games due to bad table design.

You can find the first installment here and the second here.

I did complete the dry ice vessel and the table looked incredible with a smoking volcano at it’s center.  Unfortunately, the vessel was too small for such a long game.  My maximum smoke period was about 20-45 minutes, depending, if I overstuffed the dry ice.  My next iteration, if there is one, will have a 5-gallon vessel under the table… it should smoke for an entire game!

Dry Ice Safety

Actual dry ice injury.

This stuff is dangerous.  It can burn you.  It can suffocate you.  It can cause things to explode.  Green Stuff Industries presents this post as informational, only.

Any attempt to duplicate this build is considered an “at your own risk” effort and GSI accepts no responsibility for any unfortunate results.  Dry ice is no joke.
  • Burning: dry ice is frozen CO2.  Surface temp is -109°F so “burning” is not exactly the correct term, but that is generally what the effect is called.  If you touch it with your bare hands, your finger will instantly freeze to the surface and things just get worse from there.  The longer your finger stays there, the deeper the damage will go and the more permanent it will be.  Always use safety glasses and gloves/tongs whenever handling dry ice.
  • Suffocation: That cool smoke effect is caused by the water vapor that gets captured as the CO2 goes from solid to gas (sublimation).  The smoke itself is safe, it’s just water vapor, but the invisible and odorless CO2 gas that is produced must be flushed from the area or it can keep you from breathing.  If you are in small enclosed spaces, like a garage or playroom, open the windows and doors.  Also, CO2 gas is heavier than air, so if you do succumb to the gas and fall to the floor, you end up worse off because all there is down on the floor is more CO2!
  • Explosion: DO NOT PLACE DRY ICE IN AN AIR-TIGHT CONTAINER!  The pressure will build and the vessel will fail and someone will get hurt.  I know it sounds like fun, but why take the chance?  (Now look again at the dude just above... looks like it hurt, yes?)

Building the Vessel

The vessel I built is pretty simple.  It’s just a plastic Tupperware-like container with a short tube poking out the top.  At the top of the tube is the LED lighting effect board I built in the last post.  Operation of the thing is simple and effective: smoke comes out the top and the LED lights make it glow like an active caldera.

Building the vessel has much to do with what you have on hand.  I went down to OSH and picked up the Tupperware, a short length of sprinkler “bendy-pipe,” and some sprinkler fittings that fit the threads on the pipe.

The pipe was way too long so I had to chop it in half.  There was a clear bit of tubing on the inside that I didn’t end up needing so I just put that aside for the future.

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The sprinkler fittings were too long for me to use as-is so I had to cut one up or the pipe would poke down below the waterline inside the vessel.  This would cause water to bubble out the top of the tube, so I had to shorten them up a bit with my Dremel and then clean them with a hobby knife and some sandpaper.

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Next, I cut a hole in the Tupperware lid (using the newly cut fitting as a guide) that was just big enough to accept the threaded pipe end snugly.

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The sprinkler fitting is used two ways.  On the outside of the vessel there is a smooth section I use as a support to keep the lid from flexing.  On the inside of the vessel a threeded piece is used as a retaining nut for the pipe.

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I had no good way to mount the LED board so I used a metal L-bar that came with some IKEA shelving.  I had to electrical tape it up so the metal wouldn’t short the LED board.
One other thing I had to do was make the tube more rigid.  I did this using a tounge deprssor and some duct tape.


The vessel is complete and ready to go!  It works best if you fill the vessel with water to just below that molded line in the clear plastic section, just above the sticker.  I had to hammer apart the dry ice blocks to get pieces that would fit inside.  The pieces that worked best were about the size of a donut.

The cavity inside the volcano wasn't small enough for the vessel I needed so I built up the volcano with some 1.5" foam insulation board.  This gave me the space to put the vessel under the volcano from part 1 of this series.

The vessel fits snugly inside the base.

Above is the complete assembly.  It's a great bit of LOS blocking terrain that lets the foot sloggers get closer than they probably would otherwise.

Keep in mind that if there is too much water the gas pressure will force it up the pipe and make the surface of the table all wet, along with any models that are nearby.

The footage below was shot at the BAO just before the Team 40k tourney started.

Blasted Planet House Rules

The rules that follow are meant to augment the game and only be slightly annoying.  They have yet to be play tested.  Give them a shot and let me know what you think.
The blasted and black moon, Furianis, is a small and mean spirited place. There is little value but the furnace of molten rock at its center. It is a natural generator of vast amounts of critical industrial gases, exotic alloys, and priceless chemical compounds. Whoever controls Furianis, controls the surrounding sector!
At the beginning of each players turn, the enemy player designates a unit to receive the effect and then rolls for which effect occurs on the table below.
  1. Falling Rocks! The chosen unit takes 1 wound from falling rocks and volcanic debris on a 4+ at the beginning of the owning players turn. If the unit is a vehicle, the unit suffers a penetrating hit and rolls on the penetrating hit chart at -3 to the die roll. Non-vehicles can declare a Go To Ground maneuver before the die is rolled to completely avoid this effect. Vehicles may avoid this effect by traveling their maximum distance, in any direction, during the movement phase. If the units are unable to Go To Ground or travel their maximum distance this turn for whatever reason, they are then unable to avoid this effect.
  2. Ash Storm! The chosen unit has become disoriented and lost. Instead of moving normally, the owning player chooses a “leading model” and immediately scatters it 2d6 inches from its current position. The remaining models in the unit are then placed using a coherency distance of 0 (i.e. each subsequent model must be placed in base contact with at least one other model in the unit). If the unit encounters difficult, dangerous, impassible terrain or the table edge, scatter the unit as far as possible, but do not force it to enter the terrain or leave the table. The unit gains a 3+ cover save until its next movement phase. Double the distance for skimmers, jump/jet units, and flyers.
  3. Vapor Cloud! The chosen unit spends its turn as if it were Night Fighting. Spotlights, Acute Senses, etc. have no effect in the dense Furian vapors.  All attacks made on the effected unit are made as if Night Fighting.
  4. Corrosive Gasses! In the upcoming movement phase, the unit moves as if through Difficult terrain. If the unit is already Slow and Purposeful or moving through difficult terrain, its movement roll is decreased by 1” (to a minimum move of 1”).  Enemy units that assault the effected unit also move as if through difficult terrain.  
  5. Tremor! The chosen unit’s BS stats are reduced by 1 (including attached Independent Characters). Example: Chaos Space Marines BS:4 becomes BS:3 for this turn’s combat phase. The effected unit gains +1 to their cover save for this game turn (cover save of 6 if in open ground).  Units locked in close combat (as well as the enemy unit they are in combat with) must cease fighting for this turn but remain locked in combat for the subsequent turns/phases. Does not affect skimmers, jump/jet units, and flyers!
  6. Ruptured Ground! The ground around the chosen unit cracks releasing an explosion of magma, heat, and poisonous gas! At the start of the owning players movement phase, the unit must pass a Leadership test of be forced to Fall Back to the nearest cover that is not occupied by enemy units.  Units Falling Back in this manner will regroup at the beginning of the owning players next turn.

I hope you enjoyed this series!  If you do end up playtesting these rules, please let me know how they worked out.

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