Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Product Review - Battlefoam X-Display and Fury boards

I am at heart a cautious person and after being involved in the running of a dozen or so tournaments for my local gaming club, the one area I really feel some gamers underestimate is the risk to their beautifully painted minis in a tournament environment.

I've literally seen minis worthy of a Golden Demon go into orbit at a tourny because the poor guy was dodging another player as he made his way between tables. It's always heart wrenching when you see a beautifully painted crew shattered into a bizillion pieces and it was because of that that I decided I needed the Battlefoam X-Board and Fury tray in my life. Even though at the time of writing, I haven't attended a single tournament, my cautious side was screaming that I needed that protection, or rather my minis did.

It was particularly important to me because so many of the tourneys here are single faction, meaning you could have multiple crews laddened up as you traverse a room of gamers all trying to do the same.

But anyway onto the review.

So I'll point at the start that this review actually covers two products from Battlefoam, the X-Board Display (hereafter called the XB, because its a bit of a mouthful) and the Fury.

Battlefoam X-Board Display Board

Battlefoam Fury Tray (one of two tray insets shown)

Starting with the Fury, this was originally designed for WarMachine and Hordes players and includes set recesses for 30mm, 40mm, 50mm and some even bigger base insets. It'll even hold a Collosus or whatever those hulking great things are called in WarMachine. Unlike many other display boards the Fury is specifically designed with insets for your minis, it isn't a display board per say, think of it more as a carry tray on steroids.

The Fury comes in a rugged black plastic design with two trays and a set of carry handles, which snap onto the sides.

It can be combined with XB's rails to allow you to combine the two fury trays into a single tray, changing the number of minis that can be carried from approximately 40 for a single tray to 80 for both trays.

If you go to tourneys which are fixed master or fixed list you probably only want the Fury system. The minute you start going to brawls, single faction or multi master you need the added functionality to connect trays that only the Fury and the XB package provides.

The XB by comparison is a fully featured display board. It comes with two textured tiles that when combined provide a centre step or two separate raised levels onto which you can display your minis. Provided in ruggedised plastic, the textured tiles can easily be undercoated and drybrushed to provide a nice landscape to present approximately 30 minis against. You might be able to squeeze a vehicle in there if you we're playing something like 40k but the more minis you add to the top, the less it looks like a diorama and the more it looks like a carry tray.

The XB is held together via four support rails, the longer ones, designed to run along the front and back have an inset where a name or army tag could be mounted. The short side rails have comfortable hand grips you'd use when moving it around in a tournament setting.

The XB also comes with a cotton carry bag you can use for storage, although it will only carry one set of trays, either those from the XB or the Fury. It doesn't have a carry strap either which kind of defeats its purpose.

When fitted together these boards will form a single solid unit that isn't coming apart without some brute force. I tried out both XB and Fury insets in the XB rails when I got it and its was a struggle to pull apart. It might have been where it was brand new, but it was definitely a struggle.

The XB has a one inch grid layout under the textured surface which is advertised as being ideal for you to fit magnets to, so that your magnetised minis wouldn't move if the tray was knocked but I think in reality most gamers wouldn't go to that extreme because you'd be unlikely to use the same lists at each tourney. The fury might be a batter candidate for magnetisation but I'm not sure it would offer you much more protection than the recesses already do. Even I, probably the most cautious Resser on the planet wouldn't necessarily magnetise these trays.

So to sum up these products in terms of pros and cons and to give this a rating:

Very rugged design in both products,

The XB has a very nice little textured tile setup that is generic enough that it works with any system and detailed enough that it only needs a quick drybrush to be ready

The XB front rail has a nice inset for a name/army tag

The Fury's recessed style offers protection from the tray being knocked

Both trays can be magnetised

The carry case in the XB needs a carry strap

The rugged design can be difficult to break apart, unless it eases up over time, I'd probably leave it in the same configuration.

4.75 out of 5 - All up, these products are super cool and fit a niche nicely, whilst there are cheaper alternatives becoming available, the is no doubt Battlefoam have a winning design.

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