After visiting a local tournament I got inspired to write something about terrain, it’s use, what it adds and everything related.
Last week I visited a tournament, and I was shocked by the terrain they had, it was crap to say the least. Only the two top-tables had nice terrain and a Citadel Battleboard. I am not saying that all 50 tables should’ve had a battleboard (although that would’ve been nice), that just is too expensive. But terrain that is broken or worn down so much that you can see the blue or pink of the Styrofoam, that just doesn’t cut it. Especially not when it is the regional championships tournament, which is quite prestigious over here.
Battlefield terrain is something we all encounter, be it at a tournament, on your own shelf, in the local gaming club or in shops, we all see it, use it (I hope) and love it (probably). There are a few things that make battlefield terrain so important with regard to miniature wargames:
It makes the battle look more realistic
It’s nicer than a blank table
The rules for terrain affect the game, in positive and negative ways.
Terrain of course is not essential, but without your games will me much less fun. Terrain adds a certain “dynamic” to the game, it changes battle plans, it can irritate and/or help you. That’s why you never should play without terrain, even if you use books as hills, glasses as rocks and plates as forests, then you have terrain.
The real plus of self-made terrain is that it can complement your army, because a Tomb Kings army with it’s own desert terrain is just cool to see, or an empire army with it’s own settlement, it complements your collection and makes it more than just an army, it adds ”narrative”.
There are a few ways to get realistic terrain, you can make it yourself from scratch, which is very satisfying once you completed something, it’s just like finishing a squad or regiment of your miniatures when you finish that hill or add the last flock to your forest.
You can buy pre-fabricated terrain, Games-Workshop makes some really nice terrain kits, you only need to assemble and paint yourself that can create amazing things (Fortress of Redemption, Witchfate Tor but also Citadel Woods).
And you can commission terrain, this is the easiest option because you only have to do 2 things, 1) decide what you want and commission it, 2) pay for it. And in a few weeks time you will have the most amazing set of terrain to go with your army and use in your battles.
But besides that terrain looks nice and it adds narrative to your games it is also useful in the game itself, because what would be a Tyranid army without cover saves to claim. What would be a game of fantasy without some arcane ruins buffing your mage, or some impassable terrain to chase your enemy into.
So get your hobby spirit up and get to work, be it making your own terrain or commissioning it, either way make sure you have decent terrain to play on.
Martijn BTP correspondent from the Netherlands.