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A Horde of Shadow Monsters

Every once in a while you need a big horde of miscelaneous monsters. Not something you want to invest in as an army, but something that would make a really cool one-off game. The problem is you don't want to invest tons of money or time in something that you will only use once for a few hours.

Enter the Shadow Horde. We start off with a sheet of construction paper...

OK, I lied. I am using a piece of scrapbook paper with a pattern on it. But I cut it to be the same size as a sheet of construction paper - 9"x12".

Fold it in half the long way, then cut down the fold. Note, quick and simple so far ... no measuring.

Keeping with the quick and simple, fold the halves in half and cut again. Now we have four 4.5"x6" pieces.

Now we're going to eyeball and cut into thirds. Eyeballing and accurately cutting the big sheet would have been a problem. Especially since we were following up with other cuts that would magnify any errors. This is the last subdivision and it is of a reasonable size to do a decent 1/3 guesstimate.

And now tent fold them, but don't cut. These are our minis, and the outside is the face of the mini. This is nice for patterened paper like I am using, and less significant for something like construction paper.

OK, Now we're going to measure. Well, kind of. I have done this before and while people didn't have much problem with estimating and cutting the other pieces into thirds, folding up a bit of the strip to make a base was a bit problematic. A number of people had a hard time being consistent (well, consistent enough). So if you need some help with that, you can use a ruler to guide your fold. This is not as accurate as marking both sides and using a square to draw a guide line, then folding. Then again, neither is any of the rest of the project that accurate.

Glue the top halves together and you have a nice generic (but very square) mini that can stand up on its own. They are a bit light, so you might want to glue a base under them. I happened to have some HorrorClix pogs this time, but any miscelaneous piece of cardboard would work. Just something to give it a little weight.

The last step is to trim the edges and customize them a bit.

So, fifteen minutes after start (including taking the pictures), you have 12 generic, cheap and fast minis. Expendibles.

At first I though doing this with scrapbook paper would necessitate going around the edges with a marker to cover the white paper showthrough (which doesn't happen with colored paper), but I kind of like the minimalist outline effect.

Besides the shadow horde, there are a number of other good applications for a cheap and quick bunch of generic minis:

- Hidden Figures. If you want to play a game where forces are on the board and move, but don't reveal their type, shadows are a good temporary proxy. You can just mark the bottom with which type of unit they represent. For a generic method, you can put markings for cards on the bottom (♣♣, JD, etc.), then put the units off the side of the board on top of the referenced cards. You can even have "decoys" that don't map to units or units on the side of the board that aren't referenced to hide the composition of your force.

- Destructible Minis. Especially if you use some larger figures, it can be fun to rip them apart in lieu of tracking damage. That's a bit childish? Well, you're playing a game that involves a horde of shadow monsters ... so there! :)

- Other Exotic Minis. There are as many different types of cutting pattern to use for these are there are different types of paper to use. Instead of jaggy cuts, make smooth swoops. Use some paper with grass, fire, etc. print to make elementals instead of shadows. You can even bend them a bit to make them a bit more 3D. Make bigger or smaller variants. Have fun.


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