By Joseph Forster
I’m back with some more of 4Ground’s amazing Ports of Plunder terrain series. I recently wrote on the Hovel set and the Port Houses set and now I’m taking a look at the docks and some of the other portside accessories.
Here I have a setup using the Large Dock Bundle, the crane and the set of barrels with the Colonial Port Houses in the background
The Dock Set
This is a huge set of dock pieces! The Large Dock Bundle contains 14 different individual sections of sandstone looking dock.
Included in this bundle are 4 large square pieces, 4 rectangle sections, two ramp sections and four more rectangle sections with attached stairs.
In general the pieces in this kit are really easy and fast to assemble. Most are simply 4 sides, a top, and a couple decorative pieces that look like supports. The sections with stairs take a little more time but they are very easy to build and there’s no real mistakes you can make.
Each section has stone shapes cut into the top and sides and then areas where there is no stone shapes where you’re supposed to apply a light brown render powder which looks like sand, dirt or heavy wear on the docks. This is much easier to apply in small sections to these docks than in a large, even coat on the larger buildings.
The crane is an impressive piece of terrain. It stands high above all buildings and above many of the ships in the game. It was easier to assemble than I expected and it is fully functional, with a wheel that raises or lowers the crate at the end of the rope.
There is a good platform near the middle of the crane that models can occupy giving your games some variation in height. 6-8 models can fit on the elevated portion of the crane.
The main platform is a full 4″ from the ground making it an ideal sniper nest.
At $18.50, this isn’t super cheap but it’s very novel makes your port look very functional.
I wasn’t sure how 4Ground was going to create barrels with MDF. I was worried the kit would involved bending staves and crazy stuff like that but it was much simpler than I anticipated.
The barrels are made up of round slices of various thicknesses that stack to make a tapered barrel. Very easy to put together and very affordable. For $10.50, the kit contains 4 large barrels, 6 smaller barrels and 1 barrel on tap.
The larger barrels are pretty big, coming up to the chin of a 28mm figure. The metal-looking rings are discs of silver cardboard.
It only took about 20 minutes to put together all the barrels in this kit and no painting or render powder work was necessary.
I have some smaller resin or plastic prepainted barrels that are available in the “board game world.”
These are larger and impressive compared to those.
I like these barrels enough I’ll be buying another set. You can’t have too much scatter terrain!
4Ground has really stepped up a provided the Blood & Plunder community with a great line of affordable and low effort terrain. These sets combined with all the houses and hovels from Ports of Plunder add up to as much as any one player could need for an urban Caribbean board for all but the very largest games.
The large dock bundle (in the pictures here) is probably more than many players really need unless you have grandiose plans for convention-sized multiplayer amphibious games. That set will be enough to make huge dock on a 4×6′ board look very convincing. For the average 4×4 amphibious game, the 9-piece medium dock bundle is likely enough.
I really like how 4Ground has split the pieces up so you can buy them however you like. There’s a large, medium and small bundle, along with a couple other small sets in addition to being able to buy each piece individually at very reasonable prices. The bundles save you a little but it’s not punishing buying one piece at a time. You can see the full line on the Firelock Website here.
The crane and barrels are cheap enough I think they are worth it for anyone to pick up. Barrels are useful for pretty much any board with land on it, coastal or not and that crane is just cool and fun to have around!
This was the easiest set of kits that I’ve worked with from 4Ground so far. Even the crane which was much more complex than the docks was easy to fit together and I didn’t have any issues. The render powder makes the docks a little more work but I consider this a great place to get some experience with the product before you try a nicer building where the evenness matters a lot more. You can experiment and be pretty rough here and it looks fine. And you get plenty of chances to try!
I still sort of wish the docks were actually more of a grey stone color instead of brownish sandstone but that’s my only tiny gripe.
Thanks to 4Ground for making a great and affordable product! These terrain pieces will be making frequent appearances on my gaming table!