Thursday, 24 June 2010

I can't see that forest! Its blocked by all those trees.

TKE....has been rather burnt out it appears. (And a little too interested in Eldar firedragon ass, however that kinda turned me on at the same time so I will refrain from commenting too much) So I thought I would post some ideas about 40k in general and some observations which to me as both a player and observer of games appears to have just as great if not greater an impact as Army design.

My subject is Terrain and 40k. I won't bother with a full run down assessment of the rules here, I think TLOS rules and other such things are best left for others to rant or lament about the pro and con of this rule. What I am more interested in is the lack of focus that as army builders and designers we as players tend to have when we approach a game on what terrain we will be fighting through, over and in some cases under. What follows are some observations and things to maybe think about the next time you sit down to plan a list or set up yor terrain.

1). The Great Glacier 

This is one of my favorite failures but is also one of the most frustrating. I read several blogs and several forums watching people discuss army lists and tactics with things like...

"Yeah man, get 4 combi fairy floss guns on those sternmarchen and ensure you have 3 melta on those vets sitting in the Hydro."

"Dude.... your list dont have enough anti-tank, infantry, greek hopolite repulsors to be competitive."

"I did the math and I can cause .99999 wounds firing 23 brown pants grenades and that would be much better than the .333 wounds X E+MC = the sum of the nearest black hole will give you."

The thing I watch and wait for and rarely see is anyone saying.... "ARE YOU FIGHTING ON A GLACIER?!" All the forum posts etc and blogs..... and 90% of the tactics don't consider the terrain. For some reason the 40k universe seems to have two types of landscape either its all sand and sahara or it is all ice sheet. I do wonder where they have jungle worlds, city urban scapes and more importantly green verdant fields filled with hedges, trees and marsh.

Anyone who has been wargaming for a  number of years knows that terrain will change and destroy even the best list unless the rules of the system don't consider terrain at all. Even me with my IG foot slogger list can tear down the best Nid army in the known universe..... if I have 40 inches of glass sheet to wage battle across." Come get me suckers!!!! What's that? I can't hear you over my rapid firing lasguns who have perfectly lined up in 18th century battle lines while you run toward me and your death."

2). The Great Grey Painter Corps

You know the type of player you are if you slide in here.... your mind races with ideas for lists and designs and you can calculate exactly what happens when a Space Marine armed with a bolter faces off against a Lictor at 12 inches before anyone else in the room could.... They usually paint as well, and can field a decent list.... but they forgot to invest in terrain of any type. The battle field is strewn with books, maybe pizza boxes, even perhaps a shoe..... but alas we have no serious change in terrain type. Its impassable blobs of stuff littering the field. Have you seriously considered what this does to the game? If you just have 20% of the board covered with imovable rock like structure you are fighting a completely different game to when your facing each other through a temperate woodland filled with muddy fields, some woods and hell maybe a road..... Think about that the next time you square off. Try something different. Cut out some paper blobs and say "Ok Fredy this is going to be a marsh!" Slap em down in place of just half of the drink containers, books, ex girl friends high heels etc...... that usually consists of your battlefield and you will see  a completely different game unfold before you.


When I set up a battlefield, I don't even think of being fair or even reasonable. I set it up in a systematic fashion. As a gamer I like to plan my battlefields, this means;

1). I put a river if I am using one near the ruins or town or city... water you see is usually near the settlement so people can use it.
2). Roads normally go near the settlements too, people tend to drive on them to get places not to look at scenic ruins on the other side of the board.
3). Hills can be anywhere and dont sit in deployment zones just so you can get perfect lines of fire for every Heavy Weapon your fielding.

I set up the field and then I offer my opponent a choice of side. I do consider though.

1). Both players need balance of terrain type
2). Both players should have some feature that gives a blocking feature for the advance. Ie; If I set up a ruined temple complex that is going to be the major centre part, I put the jungle around it fairly so that if I was attacking it I have cover, but if I was defending it I also have cover or some other advantage.

Historically, generals know what the lay of the land is like they will be fighting over usually or have a type of idea.... Setting up boards with all the terrain in one area and saying come get me you bastard is total rubbish.... Why would any general attack you via the 200 yards of clear ground when they could just force march around and smash you in the rear? Try and be realisitc, but also consider the attacking side probably came this way because its the best avenue of attack... Of course for ambushes and stuff like that its completely different... but if you want an enjoyable game....thats truly balanced consider really making it fair.

So with the above points.... and with me not even mentioning terrain strategies.... which will be my next post. What and how has terrain impacted your game? Is their a type of terrain you really hate? What types of terrain do you really wish you saw more of?

In case anyone was wondering.... I actually make my own or purchase it. I do appreciate its a cost that most players only get too once their armies are finished... (LOL! yeah like that ever happens)

Some terrain that might interest you however....

Pegasus Hobbies. Gothic City Series.

I cannot stress how good this stuff really is. For me here in OZ, for 50 bucks, which is about 20 odd pounds I can get one of these sets and build a complete ruin or building to wage war across. I have 4 or 5 different sets and they all can mix and match. They are also incredibly easy to paint. Paint it grey then dry brush up with beached bone. AWESOME FACTOR 100.

Visit Ebay and you will find a heap of it. ITS WORTH IT.


These guys found here. I am overwhelmed by what these guys do... I cannot afford it myself. BUT OMG MUMMY I WANT IT ALL!

Battlefield Architect.

I use these guys a lot..... THEY ARE GREAT. I cannot praise them enough. Its professional its cheap and as long as your ok with a certain sameness, this guy is amazing and you get it from ebay cheap. It really is the best I have found for the price. Some examples

And if your in the mood Ze Germanz....

I have bought a lot of their Urban stuff prepainted. Its high quality and they are a bit slow.... but worth the wait. Its all hand painted too, which for me gives it a great feel. The above is 28mm scale urban stuff on their custom boards. A little pricey.... but its NICE!!!! Plus its german, its superior engineering or something. They can be found here

Of course for those of you with little cash. (I am sympathetic, I struggled for a long time too). Try out this stuff....found here

This is 28mm scale paper stuff. YOU BUY IT AND PRINT IT AND MAKE IT! Its so cheap! Anyone can construct a bunker complex or ruined town within a day. Admitedly if your smart you will use what is suggested with card and color printing etc. But for under 10 bucks with a good printer, you can have a series of terrain that you never thought of before.

The other guys who do this probably to the extreme degree... are found here. I won't link their pics but its truly beautiful stuff made of card. You can even download a freebie or two and try it out. I really suggest you try it.
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Primarily, a blog to discuss the Games Workshop system Warhammer 40k, though not exclusively so. All GW IP used without permission, no challenge intended.

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