Today’s post is going to be about a subject that’s recently started to become a bit of a “Soapbox topic” for me.
Terrain and Scenery.
Warning – the below is very pic heavy
My first games way-back-when were played using wooden construction blocks with the cut-out counters from Rogue Trader
I’d always wanted to have terrain like that I saw in White Dwarf (Remember – this was the days before the internet).
Never did quite manage it, partly because I didn’t have the first clue on how, and partly because I lived out in the boondocks where things like polystyrene sheet, foamcore, plasticard, (decent) flock and all the sundries of the terrain makers art mentioned in the aformentioned monthly magazine were merely mythical items…..
Nowadays, and over the last few years, the options for making terrain have blossomed massively – again, with the growth of the ‘net and communication between all the disparate groups of war gamers bringing a whole wealth of ideas and inspiration.
Now.. I play on boards I’ve made myself (with help from my lovely “assistant”). There not hugely striking, but I’ve learned something with everything I’ve made – even if it’s what-not-to-do….. And strive to improve on every piece I’ve made/painted. It’s not impossible for somebody with basic skills to knock up something fairly nice looking.
Now, there is a mix of manufacturers in my scenery, from home-made, to various laser cut kits, resin pieces and Gw.
It’s entirely possible for someone to be able to buy everything they need for a gaming table now if they want, from flock to boards themselves
Strangely, to me, one of the worst terrain ideas GW have ever released has been the realms of battle board.
Why? You may ask. (And you are.. I can hear you…..).
Well, (Other then the overlaod of skulls on it.. There under the ground for crying out loud!!) in the time before the realms of battle was first released, in White Dwarf and on the website, rulebooks, codexes etc etc etc you saw pictures of various types of terrain, cobbled together from plastic, card, resin and all sorts. The gaming tables at Warhammer World had a really nice mix of relatively plain boards, and more detailed boards – I remember playing on one that consisted of a dried-up lakebed with a beached and rotting out ship in the middle.
Now, it’s all identical Realms of battle boards, with basic trees and basic block buildings.
I can understand why though, they get knocked about a lot, plus they need to be seen to be using their own product in the games.
The only exceptions are the big centrepiece tables – the massive city boards, Tomb kings complex and similar. Those boards, while being serious eye-candy are not much good to play on, as they are all 8’x6’ which makes reaching the middle a tad tricky for me, and near impossible for heather (being 4’11” as she is) even before you take into account the dodging of the city buildings, stelae and all the junk.
However. GW aren’t the only ones guilty of mediocre terrain.
I’ve seen plenty of photos of tournaments, and in a couple of rather surprising instances, convention display games where the scenery is quite simply put…. Appallingly bad.
– These are just some of the pics out there on the net – If there yours, let me know and I’ll credit where I can.
Now, to me, scenery and terrain should help enhance the game, and any narrative that you may be trying to tell with the game (For example, Which would you rather relate? Your armies sacking of the village of drunesberg, the relief of the colony of proxima-12 from the alien hordes… Or the Battle we had on the big flat field with a couple of trees….
Here’s a few pictures (Taken on my phone so I know there a wee bit dicey.. deal with it) of game’s we’ve had, or the scenery setup just before hand.
Each has their own story, and even just looking at the pics I’m sure you can think of some of them:
So. I’m drawing a line in the sand,
and starting up a little campaign:
CANS! the Campaign Against Naff Scenery!
I did consider calling it Bin Off Overdone Bad & Inexplicably Erroneous Scenery… But then I had to give it second thought….. it had a bit too much of an Arnold Rimmer ring to it…
And, just to start things off I’ve swiped a couple of inspirational pics of decent (to my mind) tables from the web. Again, if there yours, let me know and I’ll credit where I can
Well, that’s me all ranted out for now… I’ll be over here finding where I’ve put all my terrain links…