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"Would you fight them here or there?" Topic

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Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jun 2021 9:14 p.m. PST

Or would you fight them anywhere?

What type of battlefield terrain do you most enjoy for wargaming?

Open fields? Rolling hills? Deep woods? The void of space? Mountain passes, bridges, or other choke points? There are lots of options, or maybe it makes no real difference to you where.

I prefer more densely packed battlefields, like urban terrain or inside a building or ship. Thick cover woodlands or jungle or even difficult rocky terrain with lots of boulders will give the same effect.

Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2021 9:30 p.m. PST

I don't worry about it because the decision has been made by commanders long ago. On the rare instances that I do a hypothetical scenario, I tend to like the battlefield open with few woods or hills, so the players can get at each other quickly.

For the most part history dictates what terrain is present. Whether it is the sands of North Africa or the forests of America.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2021 9:38 p.m. PST

I'll gladly face your Napoleonic French Old Guard in the void of space. You may even deploy first!
evil grin

Wolfhag23 Jun 2021 10:28 p.m. PST

I like mostly open with some dense and unpassable terrain to maneuver around.


Chimpy Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2021 11:18 p.m. PST

I like enough terrain to make things interesting but not so much to stop the opposing sides getting at each other.

It also depends on the era – modern games need lots of terrain to make things interesting while ancients can get by with minimal terrain.

Martin Rapier23 Jun 2021 11:22 p.m. PST

Whatever was there at the time.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2021 5:24 a.m. PST

Fairly open terrain with features to make it interesting – as Chimpy said – which since I like horse & musket grand tactical gaming is where most of the battles were actually fought

Stryderg24 Jun 2021 8:02 a.m. PST

For spaceships, I like space with a planet or some asteroids or other space debris so you can't fly right at the other side. For land battles, land is probably the best choice. with enough terrain that movement becomes important. Lining up and charging straight ahead is not very interesting to me.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2021 8:27 a.m. PST

I've noticed at war game conventions that some gamers use terrain mostly for scenery. There is an abundance of terrain and most of it has no tactical meaning. (Like hedge rows along a road.) I prefer mostly open space with little bits of terrain where each item of terrain has some type of impact to movement and/or combat.

Blutarski24 Jun 2021 9:03 a.m. PST


The best, and certainly the most interesting, games I have been involved in featured large tracts of woods or other types of vision-limiting terrain PLUS hidden movement and positioning. Both go hand in hand to create a true challenge for both commanders.

For me, a game with everything visible on the tabletop ab initio is like playing checkers.


Stalkey and Co24 Jun 2021 10:59 a.m. PST

There should be enough terrain that it isn't a shooty massacre over in a couple of turns.

Generally, gamers use too little terrain.

Generally, few gamers or game designers understand how terrain should or should not be represented according to the game's design and ground scale.

The more modern the period, the more lethal the shooting, the more terrain you need.

As a rule of thumb, I place terrain either one move apart [for quick dash terrain to terrain] or two moves apart [for vulnerability in the open].

Hope that helps.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2021 10:59 a.m. PST

I'm with Blutarski. Hidden units and movement reflect reality in just about any era, and make for more interesting and enjoyable play.

Wolfhag24 Jun 2021 11:43 a.m. PST

I'm with Blutarski too. I use hidden deployment for static units. The attackers in LOS move until they get ambushed and then the action starts. For meeting engagements, the two sides show the GM their start location from the table edge (no LOS) and their intended movement path and speed. We can then quickly figure out where the first LOS between opponents will occur and then put the units on the table.

This can result in the meeting engagement starting with a skirmish between the recon vehicles and the enemy location can be radioed to the main body (still out of the LOS) to make adjustments to engage or flank. I've found the hard-core modelers don't like this as they want all of their toys on the table immediately.


Personal logo Old Contemptible Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2021 1:03 p.m. PST

Martin Rapier +1

UshCha27 Jun 2021 10:25 a.m. PST

Stalkey and Co has it most wargames have utterly unrealistic terrain. We used to use real maps and or Google photos of terrain. Sometime even looking at the real thing to estimate its tactical implications like bridge weight limits etc. Now we have a general idea of what real terrain looks like we sculpt a battlefield to meet the demands of a scenario but with one eye on what is plausible with the ground scale. For small scale (1/144) terrain like Hexon II while not perfect is infinitely better than the "Just blob a hill here and there" standard of terrain, massively unrealistic for where I fight.

Some Toy soldier bloke came and told us it was unrealistic terrain at 1/72 at a convention. We agreed but asked why, far too many hedges he said. WRONG we ran out of hedges so we had too few. We showed him the map and showed the missing hedges. He said nobody would have reason to fight there it was stupid. We showed him a bit more map. Said terrain was actually on the perimeter of an airfield!

I never understood playing without learning about the tactics and terrain the real army battled in. But each to their own.

Aldroud05 Jul 2021 5:58 a.m. PST

A rule of thumb I like (believe it came out of White Dwarf) is all terrain bits should cover 1/3 of the table if placed edge to edge. Then you know you have enough for aesthetics and playability.

Fire abd Fury does a good job mapping out what a table should look like, but lord it is difficult to do right. Building a F&F table is a hobby unto itself.

Personally, I like urban combat. Trained as a MOUT instructor when I was in the Army.

UshCha06 Jul 2021 6:45 a.m. PST

A good rule of thumb to me is a real map! You at least get the road density correct for the ground scale and the size of the built up areas, even if you have to simplify them.
If your game has no real ground scale do what you like as its pure fantasy.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Jul 2021 1:53 p.m. PST

A real map is as good a fiction as any.

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