Bendy Dungeon Walls
By Dark Platypus
Killer Cube Farms
Gamer Bling works in corporate America. This simple fact proves, as a necessary corollary, that Gamer Bling works in a cubicle. Because if Gamer Bling worked in an office, he’d be making enough money to buy all these great accessories instead of shuffling, hat in hand like J. Wellington Wimpy, from booth to booth at Gen Con extolling the questionable virtues of his stylish prose. Or the stylish virtues of his questionable prose.
Yes, Gamer Bling is kind of pathetic. Even the Gamer Bling Official Companion has noticed. She opined the other day, “Why can’t you be interested in reviewing something that could help our household?”
Okay, the answer there is obvious: because Gamer Bling would therefore be cleaning or redecorating or installing or performing any number of other household projects in order to properly review things. And Gamer Bling does enough household projects already. Except that the Gamer Bling Official Companion thinks he does not do enough. Which gets us back to why Gamer Bling isn’t interested in reviewing something that could help our household, when he could play instead. Hmm, let’s see: caulk around the toilet… kill ogres… is this a trick question?
He might be more inclined to do household projects if redecorating were as easy as shuffling cubicles around. Because cubicles are designed to be modular and to make it easy to move company assets around. You know, inanimate objects like computers and files and customer-service representatives.
Which, coincidentally enough, is what the Bendy Dungeon Walls by Dark Platypus are all about: making it easy for the DM to redecorate the interior of his dungeon, thus giving everyone more time for the monsters to redecorate the interior of the PCs with big long pointy spears and stuff.
First of all, let us be clear: the pieces themselves are not bendy, but the dungeon walls they create are bendy, thanks to the awesome power of HINGINESS™, an awkward word the mere typing of which fills Gamer Bling with much great HEEBIE-JEEBIE-NESS™.
The Bendy Dungeon Walls are a set of cubiclicious wall pieces one inch wide and 1.375 inches tall. In other words, 5 feet x 7 feet in scale. They have a small base (~1/3 inch wide) to keep them stable, or at least more stable than your players, who obviously are of questionable mental steadiness since they play that evil role-playing game and learn witchcraft and exercise foul arcane powers for real, but only on Tuesday nights.
Curiously, at 1.5 inches, the doors are higher than the walls, which would make for some serious architectural difficulties of the dungeon cubicles actually had a ceiling.
At one end of each wall section two small holes are carved out, leaving two little posts. They look kind of like handles for good reason: they are. At the other end of each cubicle wall are two claws that can grip these little posts and in fact make a satisfying but low-decibel clicking noise when they do so. The way the walls are designed, two clipped walls can be joined at an angle as obtuse as Gamer Bling to an something as acute as about 60 degrees (put another way, if the little hand is at the top, the big hand can swing as far up as 2 o’clock, or 1:40 decimal time).
Of course, no one says you have to be strictly orthogonal when using these. Bendy Dungeon Walls are great for creating octagonal rooms, mazes with an odd angle shift, irregular cavern interiors, or even irregular cavern exteriors. You know, the cliff-like mountains into which mad wizards always seem to be carving monster-populous deathtrap mazes of dooooom!
Each box of Bendy Dungeon Walls comes with 50 wall pieces and 5 door pieces. The doors are not doors-within-frames, but rather freestanding plastic wooden doors, and thus can easily open to any angle or be torn off their hinges without a strength check. The lack of an overhead frame also means that miniatures of any size can pass through without ducking, and characters who are halfway through said door can be manipulated or redecorated as needed.
Despite their name, Bendy Dungeon Walls can also be pressed into service as non-wall items bridges and wagons and gelatinous slabs and other such things. Gamer Bling used his Bendy Dungeon Walls for a bridge just the other night as we endeavored the party charged across a suspension bridge, failing to notice the goblins at the other side who promptly cut the ropes sending our druid to his doom. Again. Judging by the difficulties this particular character had with water, Gamer Bling has decided that druids and fluids don’t mix. That must be why he was leaking so many fluids all the time. You know, sweat, then bile, then blood, then cerebrospinal fluid… seriously, one would think this druid communed with nature by trying to assume room temperature or cultivating mushrooms on his back or something. Daisy pusher.
Of course, this is the same team in which our front line fighter was taken down by the enemy druid’s pet cat, so Gamer Bling supposes that anything is possible.
And he wishes the two sides could trade druids.
Heck, their druid and their cat for our druid and warblade and a second-round draft pick. Considering the gobbos never had to pluck their spiritual advisor from the briny sea before the sharks arrived, it sounds like a good deal.
As good a deal as Bendy Dungeon Walls!
So Gamer Bling supposes he ought to mention appearance here, since bling is nothing but appearance. The door pieces are brown plastic with silver paint used on the lateral steel strips and latch. The wall pieces are gray plastic and look as thought they have a dark gray wash and a quick smattering of light gray drybrushing. It gives good depth to the walls; the doors could have used a dark wash to bring out the detail of the molding.
The doors are all the same. The walls come in five different molds, which, combined with the fact that each piece has unique drybrushing, avoids the appearance of repetitiveness in the walls. Good touch.
And if you want floors, download and print the full-color PDFs from the Dark Platypus website. (Sheesh, those platypi: they have poison, duck bills, lay eggs, and now they spin webs.)
The painting on the pieces is, like many prepainted plastic miniatures, less than standardized. Let’s just say that if Gamer Bling were to paint a room as evenly as some of these pieces, the Gamer Bling Official Companion would ship him off to a Chinese sweat shop. Where he would get paid more for his work by his evil communist overlords than the Gamer Bling Official Companion pays him for household projects, so it’s not all bad.
Most of the time, this unequal painting is not a big deal. Dungeon walls are noted neither for their haute couture nor their feng shui, so irregularities are not a bug, they’re a feature. But sometimes it’s fairly noticeable.
The walls are also not uniform in molding. This may be due to irregularities of the molds, less-than-stellar production techniques, or both. Suffice it to say that the axle end of the clip joint, around which the claw is supposed to rotate, is not always perfectly circular. In some cases, imperfectly circular is equally beyond reach.
What this means is that when you clip one wall to a second that has an oblong axle, the walls will not bend to 90º. If you try to force it, your amazing and superior physical strength will defeat the desperate resistance of a little piece of plastic that measures 2mm x 1mm in cross-section, and one tine of the little clip will break off, at which point you will be mad at Dark Platypus for its inexpensive manufacturing technique rather than annoyed at yourself for trying to force a recalcitrant piece of plastic to conform to your iron will. (Gamer Bling first became aware of Bendy Dungeon Walls when he read a post by a retailer who had broken all of his little clips by trying to force them. Yes, ALL. Apparently trying another solution was beyond this retailer’s ken. This is one of the reasons Gamer Bling is gravely concerned with the state of the FLGS.)
The solutions Gamer Bling sees are two. First solution: Don’t force them. Duh. There are plenty of pieces that will clip together and bend nicely to form square corners. You should keep these segregated, and use the underperforming pieces for straight sections; a service they perform admirably. Second solution: Take a hobby knife or a file and whittle the axle down until it is roughly round(er).
Actually, Gamer Bling sees a third solution: perhaps Dark Platypus will investigate plastic with a little more flexibility, or else whip those Chinese sweatshop workers into shape.
Your dungeon will look a little like the cubicle farm from Hell. Which is a significant step up from looking like erasable marker on a vinyl grid, but is nowhere near as cool as a 3-d holographic projection from the Dunjon Projectatron, of which your humble reviewer is still awaiting the invention. But it does mean that you’ll have gaps between the wall sections, and your players may try to shoot through these openings like the cheesy wizard from Gauntlet did.
Finally, your choices of dungeon accessories are limited to (a) wall, and (b) door. It’s all you really need, but it means you’ll have to go elsewhere for stalagmites and secret doors and murals.
The Bottom Line
• Inexpensive, and
which makes them either the perfect girlfriend or the perfect accessory for gamers who have limited time, and therefore wish to spend as much of it gaming in as blinged a style as possible. Have a few walls and corners prepped beforehand, and you can whip up perfect miniature-friendly dungeon rooms in under a minute.
In short, they’re cubular, dude!
Bling Factor: 7
Price: $24.99 (discounts for multi-box purchases)
You need: One to two boxes. Maybe three if you have manly dungeons.
As mentioned in… you know, that other thing… anyone who orders from Dark Platypus and mentions Gamer Bling with their order will get a free gaming token. Or maybe more, since these are larger orders. We’ll see.
Alternatively, you can order from RPGShop and send a little of your filthy lucre Gamer Bling’s way via their kickback affiliate program.
Gamer Bling notices that, in the time it took for him to post this review, Dark Platypus expanded their line to include pillars. Gamer Bling will now grab his J. Wellington Wimpy email hat and endeavor to acquire a sampling of these.
Next, they claim to be testing a magnetic version of Bendy Dungeon walls. That sounds cool! (And they say “keep watching the skies,” so apparently platypi can fly now, too. Wow. Talk about evolution in action!)
Beyond that, maybe cavern stuff? Dungeon decor? Bendy half-timbered-fantasy-building-exterior walls?