Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The pretty bits

One thing that I have never really been happy with is the terrain that we use for our games. The main problem is the disconnect between the figure scale and the ground scale. How do we replicate this while retaining the playability.

And of course there are variations on the theme, with the following picture having far more straight lines than the first picture.

Looking at this picture you can see possibly 3 town sectors joined by thinner strips which could be counted (under the rules) as woods. Also note the straight lines of the woods on the ridge behind the town.

In this shot the woods edges are not as linear. The town is maybe 1 sector. Note the patchwork fields as well.
So, how do we attempt to replicate this on the table. After all, if we didn't worry about what our models looked like we may as well play with plain counters on a map. However I do think that we should be able to do better than this.

Yes, its bring on the tatty bits of felt time. This was for a historic refight (Arras if I'm not mistaken). The felt roads are serviceable at best but still grate on my eyes.

Getting better but still with the felt.

The forest sections were from off cuts of carpet that came from helping a mate redo his flat (as he wasn't allowed to play with sharp objects as he was an academic). I like the 3 dimensional look of the forests here. The hexagonal shape was something that I decided on for areas of forest. it might not look that great, but it works on the table. The roads and river are painted on (from a refight of the Sedan crossings).

Adding in the vertical dimension improves this visually.

Here we have a US armoured cavalry troop facing off a Russian motor rifle battalion. Looks like I'm having another good dice rolling day.

Here we have the problem with 3D terrain, which is what happens when stands transition between the 2. Someone is clearly getting their ass flanked.

My thinking for forests at the moment is a combination of the carpet squares with the tree stands that can been seen placed on top (and I'm not sure why we used them. its obvious that they are forests!). I can live with the stand displacement.

I have also spent some time pondering town sectors. Ideally I would like to keep the 3D aspect but add a flat top to place the defending stands. A clear top could be a possibility but they tend to get scratched and look tatty. A soldered wire armature could be another possibility.


  1. A table can look good with felt, it just needs to be pretty felt rather than tatty. A few hedges and tree lines to adding some 3D effect make a big difference.

    Your pondering on town sectors reminded me of a conversation we had a long time ago. We talked about the possibility of using aerial photographs on flat bases as town sectors. The idea that came to me was to use modeled town sectors with an "aerial photo" of the modeled sector as well.

    For games with a few sectors you have the "aerial photo" on a side table and place troops there. The photo helps you keep track of which sector on the table they are in.

    For games with a lot of sectors, major city fighting, have the "aerial photo" under the model sector. Remove just the occupied sectors and place the troops on table on the "aerial photo". Once the troops move out of the sector replace the model.


  2. I've been pondering the aerial photo thing for the entire board!

    My first (admittedly half-baked) idea was to use a projector (they are cheap enough here) onto a white table, but that would require a room that isn't too brilliantly lit.

    So my next idea is to just print out photos onto cloth using a poster printer (they use cloth sometimes for postgrad student posters here, rather than paper); 4 together would make more than a 6 by 4 table's worth...


  3. My dad is a big advocate of printing out googlemap images for battlefields. Being slightly more of a "toy soldier" wargamer myself, I go for a mixture of felt and 3d terrain.