Needless to say I was quite stoked to get my hands on this product and give it a whirl. If you saw the reams (literally reams) of printed paper tiles and terrain I had lying in nice little bins waiting for me to assemble them you'd realize that I may have a problem. You'd also realize the simple fact that I actually put these together is quite significant on its own.
First off though, you have to get the files. Mr. Babble was kind enough to give me a set for review, which is great because then that means I can use the money I'd have spent on buying the product on putting it together. With regards to the files I was quickly impressed and frustrated. When you purchase Crypts, Tombs, & Catacombs you get two downloads, one for the US (Letter) and another for the rest of the civilized world (A4), and neither PDF file is locked down. I won't bore you with how great that makes me feel, because while Mr. Babble clearly states that these files aren't for use with a VTT, I'd like to be able to play with them so I can use them with my VTT. The problem was I couldn't open the PDF files in Photoshop, even though the PDF wasn't locked down. Since I hadn't run into this before it took me a while to figure out what was the issue. I'm a bit spoiled in that I use Adobe Acrobat Pro, but these PDFs were created using LibreOffice. The PDF works just fine unless you want to do what I was trying to do. Re-printing the PDF to another PDF in Acrobat Pro fixed that issue.
brayer to roll over the printed page to help flatten and adhere it to the cardstock. I use the brayer again later and this $5 tool has proven quite useful for papercraft in general. I like to press
Now I should note that I had purchased some craft foam to try and build up the sides to make 2.5 tiles, but in testing I found the foam did not glue up to the high-end lamination plastic I'm using and didn't really glue up to itself all that well with the multi-purpose glue I was using. Hot glue might work, but in the end I liked the protection of the plastic lamination over the heightened walls. On my next batch of tiles, before lamination I think I'd use the craft foam to make a nice base for the tiles. In my tests the foam did a good job gripping the table and keeping the tiles from sliding around.
Deckle Scissors to cut strips of foam to layer as edging (I bought a HUGE roll of craft foam cheap at Michaels) and I found the deckle edging worked great with the bones. I also just happened to have some balsa wood square dowels of pretty much the perfect width so I gave it a go as well. I think the end result needs some work and if I wanted to do this again I'd probably edit the files in Photoshop to
make a full page of bone walls, have it printed to clear sticker stock and essentially "tape" the bone texture over my balsa wood. The clear stock doesn't print white so the light sections of the bones would allow the balsa wood to shine through....which would look great and could be altered by simply staining the wood. I'd still laminate the base tile pieces and instead of gluing probably staple or use pins to secure the walls to the floor. This is a lot of work though, but I think the effect would be cool.
The only other issue I had with the set, or more specifically the pages I printed, were that I really didn't care for the connector pieces. These were basically one-square-wide open ended pieces with bone walls at a funky angel intended to allow a passage way between walls. Now if the walls were a convenient 1/2 square wide, and the connectors did not have angled walls I think they would work fine. As-is you basically have to get a bit "fiddly" with tile placement and then the angled walls just don't always work out so well. Considering these connector pieces were relatively a pain to cut out, I don't think they were worthwhile at all. I think a better connector, at least for one square-wide passageways, would be to cut up that odd sized 11 square-long hallway tile.