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"Terrain and maps" Topic

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UshCha06 Feb 2018 2:30 a.m. PST

Does your terrain, in as far as its possible reflect the real terrain you are trying to fight over? While I generally "invent" terrain, sometimes a bit oversimplified if trying out new tactics or for begginers. Genrally my terrain reflects real world rural density's in terms of spacing of villages, hedges and roads in Norther Europe. However I regularly have to go back to Google or high resoution maps to re-calibrate myself as there is always more terrain than you think in terms of sight lines, hedges, ditches and roads, even in a couple of square killometers.

No matter how good your rules are, in un-representative terrain you will get un-representative simulations, so to me terrain is an integral part of the simulation. Much of my may not win prizes for art work but set-up time is critical and excessive sized models do not help the simulation. Bridges are the worst for this and I use a compromise scale between model and Grouns scale to minimise the impact.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2018 6:08 a.m. PST

I think it depends on the scale of the game. 28mm it's hard to copy true ground scale. 1/300th it is much easier to show the contours of the terrain.

UshCha06 Feb 2018 10:08 a.m. PST

Even at that you can get somewhere near.


This is in my locality. Assuming you run at the typical 10 to one ground scale to model scale a 6 by 4 ft board would be about 1km by 720m. The long edge of the picture is about 1000m. You should be able to get the right number of roads in but with a lot less houses. This will at least give you some of the complexity and restricted sight lines. makes for more complex and hence much more interesting games, not just a dice throwing contest.

Ps assumed 28mm is roughly 1/60 scale.

IronDuke596 Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2018 11:07 a.m. PST

Yes, I use 28mm figures at 20:1 for War of 1812 battles using 20yds = 1 inch. This works for me as most of the battles are divsion versus divison or less.

As part of my research I make copies of the battlefield maps and mark all significant terrain features in yards and convert the distances to inches. I usually outline my tables/battlefiled area 6 x up to 22 ft onto the map (sort of an overlay) to try and fit all the important terrain onto the table.

As you state, there is sometimes distortion when one uses buildings etc. So there are some compromises. Also, I somtimes have to vary the scale a little to fit the battlefield onto my tables.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP06 Feb 2018 12:51 p.m. PST

Does your terrain, in as far as its possible reflect the real terrain you are trying to fight over?

God no. None of my grass grows. The rivers don't flow. No added footprints and tracks in the snow when figures move through. So many things that are not real …

UshCha07 Feb 2018 1:38 a.m. PST

etotheipi, There is always one…. . For you simulation is a something that happens to other people :-).

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Feb 2018 6:39 a.m. PST

For you simulation is a something that happens to other people

Well, yes. I run large, complex analytical simulations for a living. So it does happen to other people.

The point is that "real" is a meaningless designation without a definition of a referent, in which case it is specific and not generally applicable.

"As far as possible" is a meaningless qualifier. It is either always false, because elements that are real can be added.

Or "possible" is with respect to the amount of resources you have to commit, so it is always true. You do as much as you do, which is defined by the resources you commit. So even if you "feel" like you could have done more, you couldn't because of the de facto resource limitations you put on possible.

It depends on your definition of "possible".

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2018 12:08 p.m. PST

I do the best I can to replicate the actual terrain within the limits of my skills and terrain pieces. I don't worry too much over ground scale or the scale of a bridge. If is a 25/28mm bridge and the bases fit and it looks period, then I use it. I go more by maps and what looks good and facilitates the game.

The best compliment I ever got was at a convention after I had set the battle of Picket's Mill and two guys immediately recognized the terrain without me saying a word. Because they grew up and still lived near the battlefield (no they didn't get it from the program. I asked.)

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP09 Feb 2018 12:44 p.m. PST

Like a lot of people I wanted to do the siege of Vicksburg because it would involve land and river battles. I have seen a lot of them on line and thought they looked peculiar because the ships were so out of scale compared to the figures.

So I bought a 15mm City Class Union boat as an example. It was big. Then I talked to Richard Houston to get his advice. His advice was don't do it. You can't get the ground scale to work for both.

The cliffs along the river would be very high and the river very wide. I wasn't about to use smaller, scale ships. One of my 32pd rifled artillery would be bigger than the boats.

UshCha10 Feb 2018 8:26 a.m. PST

In some other hobbies differing scales are used for artistic effect. I guess most of the time the ships are far away so using smaller ships does not seem that much in error. Personally art never gets precedence over the game so I am biased.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Feb 2018 8:42 a.m. PST

Personally art never gets precedence over the game so I am biased.

So you are not trying to reflect the real terrain?

As discussed in this thread, real world terrain has visually obvious details that do not affect combat. Likewise, real world terrain may be visually identical but have significantly different properties with respect to tactics.

UshCha13 Feb 2018 8:02 a.m. PST

Art can interfere with optimum simulation. Bridges are a case in point they are too large for the ground scale and can lead to daft scenarios. Hence a shorter bridge than real performs closer (though not perfect) than a 1/144 dead scale minature. As you point out the trick is to pick opteimum performing terrain if neccessary over artisic merit where this reduces optimumn performance in the simulation.

Russ Lockwood21 Feb 2018 2:33 p.m. PST

Just as the stands are representations of troops, so the table will be a representation of terrain features. To me, the farther away from skirmish level, the more representation -- or 'fudging' if you prefer.

I don't usually find it a problem if a tank model representing a platoon physically stretches across the bridge model over a felt river, or if a flat piece of the table represents a field that would normally have undulations or shallow ditches.

I prefer and appreciate a nice looking table, but I enjoy a challenging scenario more.

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