Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chinatown, My Chinatown

DC -- the city (District of Columbia), not DC Entertainment the comics publisher -- is full of fascinating neighborhoods, each with its own character.  Actually, so is the DCU, but I'm only talking about the DC my body occupies, not the one that occupies my mind.

I myself live in trendy Columbia Heights, which is "arguably DC's most ethnically and economically diverse neighborhood" (whose Civic Plaza is pictured below).

 Children; shudder.  Fortunately, the fountains pretty much wash themselves.
Still, children in a neighborhood have one useful side-effect; they scare away bums, who are afraid children will set them on fire or tie tin cans to them. 

One of my favorite DC neighborhoods is Chinatown:

And that's WITHOUT make-up on.

I'll often swing by there on my way home (it's on the same subway line) just to have dinner or take in a film or simply soak in the crazy.  You see,  DC's Chinatown isn't just active; it's hyperactive.  If you want a family-sized helping of crazy in DC, go to Chinatown.  (P.S. Eat at Chinatown Garden; do NOT eat at Big Wong's.)  There are few DCers who do not have at least one bizarre anecdote that begins with, "So, we're in Chinatown, right, and then..."

Chinatowns are a great setting in popular entertainment, including superhero lore; both Metropolis and Gotham City of the DC Universe On-Line game, for example, have a Chinatown.  The colorful scenery, the unusual architecture, the bustling ethnic community, the air of mystery;  it's a great setting for a confrontation between the good guys and bad guys. 

So I made a "Chinatown" Heroclix map! 

This isn't an accurate representation of DC's Chinatown, by any means. However, the arch is;  I used a screen capture from Google Earth to get the dimensions of it right.  

My Chinatown is filled with some appropriate businesses (some Chinese restaurants, an herbalist, a tea house, a curio shop, and open-air market), including some nods to actual places in DC's Chinatown (such as Big Wong's and the Wah Luck House). 

I've been trying to avoid using the 'neon outlines' method of marking types of special terrain.  On this map, the areas with green flooring (The Green Dragon restaurant and the Marketplace ) are hindering terrain, as are the shadowed areas in the alleyways.  Elevated terrain is marked by red roofing and blocking terrain by yellow roofing.  Special note: the elevated terrain of the arch can be walked or aimed "under", for obvious reasons.

Another special touch: even though they are interior spaces and can't be fired at from above, most of the business have ladders within them that provide access to the roofs of the adjacent buildings.  It's all very "Hong Kong" chase scene, you know.

I hope you enjoy playing on my custom Chinatown Heroclix map as much as I enjoyed making it.

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