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Calden
18-10-2007, 08:53
I've been in the hobby for many years now, but Tuesday saw my first ever game in a Games Workshop store, mainly because I've pretty much always gamed with friends or at a local club.

Now, I've always admired the work the staff put into their tables, but actually playing on one made me really think about how they design them, and what impact it might have on players.

Thinking back over the GW tables I've seen, most seened to be made up of fixed scenery, which is no bad thing in itself, but arrayed in a very bad way. Lets take the city table that I played on Tuesday as an example:

Two ruins flush against each of the long table edges. A single ruin in the very centre of the table. An impassable river/lava flow runs close to one of the long table edges, with a bridge accross it, and it ends at one of the ruins (Only goes about half way accross the table). The opposite corner of the table is dominated by a large fortified wall.

Table *possibly* has close to the recommended 25% terrain, but the setup is completely dire. Everything is either right at the edges of the table, or in one exception, right in the middle.

Now obviously this table is going to favour some armies, and army builds, very strongly over others. Also if youngsters new to the hobby get started playing on boards like this, they are going to think that this is the norm, or how things are supposed to be. If this is a common nature of tables throughout GW stores then I'm beginning to see why terrain setup is one of the toughest things to teach new players to the game.

What are your thoughts? Am I being a bit mad? Could I be onto something?

Brother Loki
18-10-2007, 09:38
In many ways the boards aren't so much designed for the people playing on them, as to catch the eye of people watching. They're there to show off the models more than anything else.

I know what you're getting at though - I mean, a cityfight board with all the scenery round the edges - what a waste.

the1stpip
18-10-2007, 09:53
My only issue is they make the boards look real, which means if you try balancing a model on what should be flat ground, they will probably fall over due to the bumps and rises that have been modelled on for realism.

IJW
18-10-2007, 10:15
Front-of-store gaming boards in GW stores are almost solely designed for looks, as that's what they are there for - to draw people in by looking good.

Lord Damocles
18-10-2007, 11:01
This is a problem all over the place. My local GW has a 4'x4' Cityfight board with half a dozen ruins around a central plaza/square. This looks cool, but is a nightmare to play on (unless you're Tau) due to the toatl lack of cover:mad:.

Mr Zephy
18-10-2007, 11:15
Most GWs have flat boards that they get out at vet's night... ?

pookie
18-10-2007, 11:45
My local GW store has some boards flat and emptie with scatter terrain that can be placed on the board, each item has been mounted on an appropriate sized base, although some boards do feature some 'built in terrain' too, although the lads have been quite good and placed this towards the sides/edge so it doesnt affect the game much.

blongbling
18-10-2007, 11:49
its all for the looks, not the playability...they are there to be aspirational

Zanzibarthefirst
18-10-2007, 11:59
although a trench board with tank traps and razor wire in no mans land woudl be cool. me and my friend have wanted to do that for a while but storing the board is a bit impractical

pookie
18-10-2007, 12:14
although a trench board with tank traps and razor wire in no mans land woudl be cool. me and my friend have wanted to do that for a while but storing the board is a bit impractical

i agree - maybe a board built in 4, 2x3 foot bits with the trench running down were the boards would join? ( almost as tho half the trench is on each section, if that makes sence?

space is a issue that i also have, and now that ive finaly got a spare room, i need to find a suitable way of storing a board but without causing any damage to it whilst ist packed away.

EVIL INC
18-10-2007, 12:32
I agree that they are there for looks. I actually prefer the flat boards that you put stuff onto to play. You will notice that when you go to a new store to play that has the built in landscape, the regulers there will always have the advantage. This is because they know the ranges from experience. trench A will always be excactly 24 inches from tranch B for example.

Calden
18-10-2007, 12:33
i agree - maybe a board built in 4, 2x3 foot bits with the trench running down were the boards would join? ( almost as tho half the trench is on each section, if that makes sence?

space is a issue that i also have, and now that ive finaly got a spare room, i need to find a suitable way of storing a board but without causing any damage to it whilst ist packed away.

Trench board would be nice to play on for the breakthrough style scenarios, or sronghold/bunker assault I reckon. Probably not so good for normal games though.

Jedi152
18-10-2007, 12:33
All the main boards at WW have removable terrain, except for a few excellent cityfight and beach assault boards.

I love a good looking boards, and a certain amount of fixed scenery is good, but you need some removable - i expect it gets very boring playing on the same board all the time.

Calden
18-10-2007, 12:38
All the main boards at WW have removable terrain, except for a few excellent cityfight and beach assault boards.

I love a good looking boards, and a certain amount of fixed scenery is good, but you need some removable - i expect it gets very boring playing on the same board all the time.

I've more of a problem with fixed boards that have a bad layout myself. Fixed boards are fine, they usually look alot more cohesive and impressive than variable boards, so can be alot of fun to game on. Excusing the boredome factor of course. What really grates me though is the amount of fixed boards I see in GWs that are absolutely horrible as far as game balance is concerned.

I'm sure it's perfectly possible to design a board that is fixed AND balanced. In fact in a store where you are supposed to be encouraging people to keep playing it sould be what you are after, otherwise you are going to see some newcomers think that their army is utter pants and give up, without realising that it's simply a case of poor terrain design. Not only that, but poorly thought out boards put into the heads of youngsters that this is how terrain should be laid out.

Marshal Argos
18-10-2007, 14:31
My local store just rebuilt all of their boards getting ready for Apoc. Half have had trenches added down the middle that flatten out by the time you get to the other side. But ALL of the terrain on the board is removable. This makes it great for city fight because they have other pieces of terrain that can cover the trenches, and buldings that can be added anywhere you want.

That said, the GW store in my last city had fixed terrain AND buildings. You couldn't adjust anything except not to play there.

The_Outsider
18-10-2007, 15:21
The best boards to play on are typically the absolutely perfectly flat ones with "modualar" terrain.

I.e a plan grass board and you plonk on your own terrain (or staff do it for vets night). That way you can have as much or as little scenery as you like.

But yeah, a lot of the special GW boards (like cityfight ones) are crap.

The cityfight board in my lcoal GW is bot ha blessing and a curse. It looks great and games can be decent.

However downsides - so far it has caused more blood loss in GW than ever seen before and all the cover is around the edges meaning tau have never lost on it.

Cry of the Wind
18-10-2007, 15:56
Well my local GW had a bunch of really neat fixed terrain boards for awhile (including a city fight board with a wrecked GW in). All the new tables are being built with modular terrain as it allows the tables to be cleared off for various special events and can allow any table in the store to play any game systems without wondering why Frodo is running through trenches filled with dead marines... They were also changed because the veterans could tell how many inches away something was based on its position relative to the scenary ("hmmm...your squad in that building must be 7" away from my unit in this building, so I'm not going to try and charge", "How do you know that!", "Because these buildings are 6.5" apart and the walls are 0.3" thick...").

All the fixed terrain boards I've seen have been well done overall, but are definatly going more for looks than gameplay. I can understand that though, why build an ugly table when you're going to be stuck looking at it for a long time.

Thoth62
18-10-2007, 16:07
At my local GW bunker, all the terrain is modular. We have 5 6'x4' tables in the back of the store and they are all of the completely flat variety. Even the cityfight board. All the buildings are on modular 12"x12" templates. It's very easy to set up and move around as you see fit.