Terrain in perspective: Making the most of your Wargames terrain. WFB edition
by, 04-11-2012 at 12:33 PM (507 Views)
As it would seem Warhammer Fantasy is once again waxing in the eyes of local interest, I thought this would be a good opportunity to cover a few thoughts on terrain as it relates to games of this type.
While I am an advocate for more (and more varied) terrain on any game table, I often wonder about regimented games such as Warhammer, many historical games, or Wargods of Aegyptus. The reality of blocks of infantry is that they have a harder time getting around a table that is loaded down with terrain. This is in terms of the physical properties of the models as well as maneuvers in the game. (Balance for example)
These kinds of games must strike an unusual balance of terrain versus clear areas. Too much terrain slows the game and hurts some armies, not enough and it can get stale, and really hurt other army types.
As I recall, WFB used to call for 25% or less of the table to have terrain. It was recommended that you use a couple of hills and some woods, maybe a building. This allowed for a lot of freedom to maneuver and try to flank your enemy, but could be considered dull at times. Additionally, faster or larger units could take advantage of less terrain as well.
Eighth edition has become vague in terms of terrain, suggesting D6+4 pieces on a given table. There is nothing wrong with this statement, but for the fact that the recommended size of each piece is not readily obvious. Five to ten pieces of terrain are not really a problem if they are fairly small, but can be crushing to the game when they get too big. I worry that too much terrain may have unconsciously turned some people off to the game. A hill is okay, but a mountain is probably too much, Likewise, a river is fun, but maybe not the Mississippi.
Another issue that can arise is the magical terrain types introduced in 8th edition. Rolling on the table provided can result in a very unique table with a number of new factors to consider. This is very interesting and can create unique strategic situations, but the question of size returns. That effigy of Gork you rolled sounds like fun, but the only piece of terrain available that resembles such an idol might be mounted on a hill or forest that is an inappropriate size for the table. (Being an effigy of Gork it might be inappropriate for a variety of other reasons, too, but that falls outside the focus of this discussion.)
In conclusion, I would caution anyone playing this type game to go easy on terrain, and try to keep it close to 25% of the table covered, unless you want a different terrain experience, which I would not fault anyone for. In terms of the magical terrain found in WFB, I would suggest that players roll for one or two pieces at most to include with whatever agreed upon amount of terrain you would be using. It is easier to keep track of all the special circumstances this terrain has to offer that way, and makes each peice that much more valuable to the armies fighting over it. I would also really like to encourage players to pick a few favorite pieces of special terrain to build and pack along with your army, to ensure that a variety of these pieces are represented in a decent scale for the game.
(Just donít get carried away on that effigy of GorkÖ)
Thanks for reading, and please remember, your comments and responses are the 3+ cover save to my inspiration for writing these articles, so be generous with your thoughts.