So before this devolves into a rant....let me tell you why i think good terrain is so important.
What makes good terrain?
Its all subjective really.....
What i think makes good terrain is a piece that looks realistic but practical to a gaming sense. You do need to be able to fit your minis on and in it after all. Also something that's not all single story tall. Multiple building levels are essential i feel. A battle field should rarely be two dimensional.
I often see ruined buildings or structures which have gaping holes as big as a superheavy allowing sight from one side to the other. In a game where line of sight now is pivotal its a recipe for mundane games and useless token terrain pieces.
A simple way to mitigate this is to include simple internal walls in buildings. Only has to be one or two and all of a sudden the terrain piece breaks up the tables line of sight and changes the dynamics of units. Infantry can now sneak through dense terrain. Vehicles suddenly need a good infantry escort to protect them from ambushes. You get my drift......
- Many of us have read the Horus Heresy novels or any other black library 40k story and been drawn into a richly descriptive setting of the grim dark 40k universe. Hab blocks and manufactorum buildings. Grand bridges spanning rooftops and gantry walkways. There is no reason why the tables we recreate these battle stories on, shouldn't look the same as from those books.
|credit for pic goes to http://www.miniwargaming.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=79505|
- Placing your minis into such detailed terrain i have found, gives a profound sense of wonder. Seeing models taking fire points in windows, sniper positions from rooftops all goes towards enhancing the narrative of the game.
- Another good point is the fun and enjoyment of actually modelling and creating this terrain. When we finish a squad or vehicle and get that sense of accomplishment, that too can be had with terrain. Terrain pieces, much like large tanks and superheavies can allow for heaps of detail and embellishments due to their size so they offer a great opportunity to express your modelling skills.
- I hear many, many a gamer complaining that jump troops are over priced. I beg to differ. When jump troops are used with good, real terrain, that is multi level you can see why jump troops have their points cost. They have the ability to navigate easily across an otherwise difficult slog on the ground. They can use the height of buildings to shield them from sight and be in range of a devastating assault the next turn. That is the key to jump troops assaults, is to hit with maximum momentum (as many troops as you can) and good terrain allows these types of troops to do this flawlessly. So the attack doesn't go so well and you have to fall back......flee to the roof tops and you'll never be chased down. I wonder how many people have ever thought of that aspect of terrain?
- Super heavies can play a dramatic part in any game. The sheer amount of fire power they can bring can literally and practically wipe an opponent off the table in a few turns of fire......if on an open table. There have been many games of apocalypse that i have played where a guy has rocked up with his warlord or reaver titan and proceeded to wipe everything off the table with no recourse for the other players. There is no fun in that. Having proper terrain can help mitigate this and has two sided benefits. It means that such large war machines can still be dominating but not dominate the entire table. They now need to navigate the terrain to obtain fire lanes to be made useful and will teach players of such units to be better tacticians. Conversely players can feel more confident that playing against one of these super heavies isn't going to mean an instant loss to the game and can instead try for victory by securing objectives under cover, all in all making for a much more cinematic, narrative driven game.
- Another aspect is that good proper terrain creates a solid reason for taking unit upgrades and additions. Such things as nuncio voxs and rhino transports. With line of sight adequately broken up units would have these extra layers of support and adds a little extra bit of flavour to a game.
|A game played between A galaxy in Flames resident Dark Angel and Imperial Fist players. The terrain was so engaging that first blood was not scored until turn 4!|
All in all, good realistic terrain (and by realistic and good i mean terrain that has the extra detail such as ledges, internal walls and multiple stores) is as essential to a game as a tackle box is for a fishing. Without it you are not really getting, and experiencing the full scope and range of what your 30k miniatures can do on the table. Unit tactics begin to pop in your face and sudden realisations of how you can secure an objective two turns ahead begin to show. When your opponent sees the same thing then all of a sudden he is now trying to devise tactics to counter your smart use of terrain and a brilliant game of cat and mouse can ensue on the table. This in turn will drive larger strategies which most people dismiss.
now compare all these points to a bare table that you're probably used to seeing and tell me its not grossly lacking....