Lets talk about terrain. To many times have I seen players claim they use enough terrain. To many times have I seen players claim their board is even or fair. To many times I have seen players just shove the terrain into areas so that the terrain is nothing more than a decoration that shouldn’t be touched. Serously people get your head out of your rear ends.
This article is going to, well obviously be geard towards warmachine and hordes, but the guidelines here can be applyed to any tabletop wargame.
As a general rule, an average table should have six to eight pieces of terrain placed closely enough to eliminate large open areas without unduly constricting movement. The size of terrain pieces is also important. No piece should be insignificantly small or extremely large; pieces from 3˝ to 6˝ in length and width are best.
Terrain pieces are categorized as restricted or unrestricted for the purposes of setting up tables.
• Unrestricted terrain: dense fog, forests, hills, rough terrain, rubble, shallow water, trenches
• Restricted terrain: hazards, obstructions, obstacles.
We recommend that the majority of terrain on a table is unrestricted terrain. The exact number, type, and placement of terrain pieces are up to the EO, but the following terrain rules must be followed when setting up tables.
• Do not place terrain within 6˝ of any table edge.
• Unrestricted terrain pieces cannot be placed within 2˝ of any other terrain piece. Trenches, however, can be placed in contact with other trenches.
• Restricted terrain cannot be placed within deployment zones or within 5˝ of any other restricted terrain piece.
• When placing restricted terrain within scenario zones or near flags and objectives, the EO must take care to not accidently block off important sections of the battlefield from models with huge bases (e.g., an obstacle within 3˝ of a flag would be acceptable, but placing additional obstructions or obstacles around that flag that prevent a huge base from interacting with the flag would not be acceptable).
These rules apply only to initial terrain setup by the EO and do not apply to terrain placed by players before or during the game due to special rules in their army.
I personally beleave the Steamroller 2016 has some of the best terrain placement rules so far. The rules as written above which were pulled straight out of the steamroller 2016 pdf packet encourges terrain towards the middle where the engagment area will be the heaviest.
Here we can see a simple layout that abides by the steamroller 2016 packet using one of my favorite scenarios.Recon. There are eight pieces of terrain, with no obstructions in the zone or preventing any model from going base to base with the flags or objectives. There is a nice verity of terrain granting elivation bonuses, cover, concealment, and Line of Sight blocking terrain.
I love flat terrain. I have nothing against it. I love how portable it is. I love the ease of use and the fact models will stand on it. Personally I think if you are going to use flat terrain shoot for the printed flat terrain but if you cant then simple color felt works just as good. As long as they are labled in a way for players to eaisly identify what they are.
Even this layout follows the steamroller 2016 guidlines. Elivation, cover, rough terrain, and Line of Sight blocking terrain are in such a way that a player needs to think about what side he wants vs going first or second.
1. Not every game store has a plethora of terrain a gamer can use in his battles for glory, but that shouldn’t stop players from having an awsome table to play on. You may have to go that extra mile and make some terrain. The other option is buying already made terrain to ether donate or to bring with you to game night. Heck if you can papercraft the hell out of terrain do it! I wanna see that now.
2. If you got a weird piece of terrain that falls under none of the hard rules written, don’t be afraid to make up rules or just steal rules from another piece. Got a strange looking obilisk? Treat as a obsturction or if it is low enough a simple obstacle. Got a destroyed warjack in a forest looking piece? Treat as forest that provides cover instead of concealment. Dont be afraid to make up rules for a custom pieces of terrain. As long as you and your opponent agree that the rules are fair.