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Battle-Brother Wags
10-04-2008, 02:39
Ok, hopefully I'm approaching this topic from a more unusual standpoint rather than the usual. Here goes.

What is the methodology behind the way you set up terrain? No matter whether you set it all up yourself, you take turns with your opponent, or you ask someone else to do it, what is the motivation?

Do you set up the terrain with only the upcoming battle in mind, meaning that you are thinking about setting up strategic locations, thinking of how you can utilize them or go against them depending on who gets what side? You put aside thoughts of the terrain pieces necessarily making sense together. You're more interested in gameplay than background details.

Or do you primarily think of the tabletop and terrain as part of a story, making sure that things are set up appropriately. You pay attention to the terrain pieces, making sure that their location and existence in their current placement makes some kind of logical sense. The rationale for things being as they are might even lead to strategic disadvantages for one player or the other, depending on who gets that side . . . but hey, its still a pretty tabletop.

Or do you set everything up more randomly without thinking much of background OR strategy? You just smack those terrain pieces down and say, "ready to roll for sides?!"

I personally am mostly the second option with just a tad of the first. I think in terms of storyline, though I definately play to win. But even if I lose, if it was a decent game and a good story can be made out of it, I have enjoyed myself. And for me, terrain pieces that make sense in their placement and relationship to one another makes a huge difference in that regard.

Vaktathi
10-04-2008, 02:56
While I try and keep a unified theme throughout (e.g. if going for an urban theme, then the necron crystals and the cottage stay on the shelf) but try and set it up so as to meet the 25% terrain requirement (too much more, once you start going over about a third, and it becomes really heavily biased in favor of assault and skimmer armies, not enough and the gunlines kill everything) and offer amble cover and LoS blocking without going overboard and denying any firing lanes.

Occulto
10-04-2008, 03:11
A little from column A and a little from column B.

I try to make it reasonably balanced (ie no line of buildings on one side and nothing on the other), but also try to make it look somewhat "realistic" - so I'll make actual streets, maybe group forests near each other etc.

starlight
10-04-2008, 03:27
It depends.:p

Usually narrative concerns win overall, but sometimes making it *look right* is important as well.

I prefer more than the *suggested* 25%, more like 40+%. :)

Chem-Dog
10-04-2008, 03:42
I replied Storycentric, it's the closest.

I actually try to make a setup that makes sense as an area of terrain.
buildings will be clumped together as a settlement with larger ones generally to the centre of the clump, roads will pass next to, if not through the settlement, that kind of thing.
I will try and set up in a fairly even manner, so no side will have too much of an advantage but as a majortiy of the games I play an the moment are low points on a 4'X4' table the player who wins the roll to pick sides generally has 4 table edges to pick from, so I'm not too fussy about it.

Theadium
10-04-2008, 04:26
I really try to make the battlefield look good. Thats what I aim for with terrain. The upcoming strategy will reflect the terrain setup, not vice versa.

Adiem
10-04-2008, 08:43
I'd say A with a little bit of C - I try to make the terrain useful in a strategic sense, but really just want to get the game started ASAP

AllisterCaine
10-04-2008, 08:51
Well the strategy is based on the terrain, not the other way around. Otherwise it would be too...cheesy. Because I know, as an IG player with 2 inferno cannons, 2 battle cannons and a demolisher supported by 6 lascannons, I would not want much terrain for the other guy.

The boyz
10-04-2008, 09:04
We tend to just set our terrain up randomly. All a little of option A, does come into it as well.

rodmillard
10-04-2008, 09:30
I voted story centric, but IMO you can't have that option without a little bit of strategic thinking. For the story to be interesting, one side or the other has to have a strategic reason for fighting where and when they do - even if your scenario is that DE raiders are assaulting an unprepared sister's convent, they are going to choose their line of attack appropriately to maximise advantages etc.

The thing is though that that approach means the terrain has to favour one side or the other - it's hard (and not a little implausible) to come up with background for games where both sides have their ideal terrain...

chromedog
10-04-2008, 09:33
A little A) a little B).

I like to have the terrain follow a logical set-up (unless it's a daemon world, then ALL bets are off).

lord_blackfang
10-04-2008, 10:16
A+C

I fill one quarter, then spread them around evenly so that both players have good starting cover, but that's about it.

battle captain corpus
10-04-2008, 10:28
None of the above.
I set it up so that it looks good and will be fun to play with. :)

silverstu
10-04-2008, 10:29
I tend to go for story centric- it has to look good- like a dramatic landscape. I always try and ensure there is an even spread of terrain and it works practically to game over. basically making sure there are some killing zones and room for troops and tanks to move over. I think i go over the 25% amount- it seems to make games more fun but I definitely make sure that it doesn't disadvantage either side. It's all about the fun for me[probably means I loose a lot!!].

Malchek
10-04-2008, 10:52
Interesting question ;)

Unfortunately the answer for me depends on what type of game we'll be playing!

In a scenario the terrain has to be fluffy and I don't take into consideration gaming aspects. Just recently we played a fluffy scenario in a hive so the whole board was covered in buildings - really dense and whilst this proved a little tricky gamewise - it just looked and felt 'right'.

However, when setting up the terrain for the tournaments I hold and regular games against regular opponents I have several facotrs in mind.

1) Not to give too much advantage to whomeever wins the roll for table edge.

2) enough size 3 terrain to block los for vehicles and enough other terrain to make a tactical game.

Quite often I find myself deploying terrain in a largely regular pattern - three lines of 4 (obviously not straight lines but you get the idea!) with 4 along the top of the board, 4 through the middle and then 4 peices along the bottom of the board. This seems to give the fairest games with a lot of tactics involved.

When i first started holding tournaments it took me several hours to set up the terrain as I laboured to make the sides fair to both players (in stark contrast to GT's where the terrain is literrally thrown on the table - I know cos I've watched em do it! lol)

When you get used to doing it - it doesn't take as long.....

As I get older though I've found myself going for more and more fluffy campaign or scenario driven games as its far more rewarding IMO....

Malchek ;)

wickedvoodoo
10-04-2008, 11:26
Usually when i am responsible for the terrain on the board my main goal is to keep the ratio of area terrain pieces on each side equal, i like it to be fair so no one side looks clearly safer than the others. After that i try and group similar lookign terrain together so that there are patches of forest together and then a group of buildings int he middle or whatever.

max the dog
10-04-2008, 13:56
I set terrain in a combination of story line and game goals. At work I have access to a ton of cardboard so the raw materials for city buildings is pretty abundant for me. I've made about a dozen pieces of terrain specifically for a set series of battles that go along with the story line. That always goes in the middle and the objectives revolve around it. From there I and my gaming group always put terrain to give our army any advantage we can.

RavingGuard
10-04-2008, 14:05
i think i probably go for a story / scenario centric approach. to explain my methodology i should probably explain the size of games i play. they are generally 4000 point games and the scenery i usually use is up to 11 cities of death buildings, 5 craters, crashed aquilla, barricades, street lights, razorwire and a couple of hills. i play on a 6 foot by four foot board.

so its normally very tight, i tend to like playing with the cities of death terrain mostly, i'll normally makea few streets with different kinds of buildings populating different areas, eg mechanicus area / administrative bit. i'll normally have one large central building too. the very edges of the board may either get low level buildings and ruins or hills and craters. just depends on my mood.

for larger games i'll reduce the number of buildings and add more hills / craters as this leaves enough space for movement of vehicles without them being totally restricted by crap terrain.

Imperialis_Dominatus
10-04-2008, 21:06
I fill 25% of the board with terrain (one quarter for the slow ones). Then I toss a big piece in the middle and throw the terrain around till it looks even. Makes for good games, I characterize it as C.

Johnnyfrej
10-04-2008, 22:02
For me as long as the terrain and the board match up well and around 30-50% of the board is covered I don't care much for weither it is strategic or background based.
To the OP I think you should have made a fourth choice and had a 50/50 for strategic/background terrain.

lanrak
10-04-2008, 22:21
Hi all.
I play for enjoyment, so I like to spend a bit of time setting up the terrain. We ( my local gaming group,)tend to chat about the big picture , building up the story of why the armies are fighting here and they are fighting for.
It may be because we have all day, (Saturdays,) and have been freinds for years, we like to savour every aspect of table top gaming when we get the chance.
So I voted for story based terain set up, because we enjoy narrative driven games , far more than 'line 'em up and knock 'em down 'type games.

Logarithm Udgaur
10-04-2008, 22:25
I went with the Storyline option. I try and keep a good mix of terrain types (LOS blocking, different types of cover, etc...) in the game, but want it to look like they all belong there according to the story. I usually go with the recommended 25% coverage and hopefully not more, as I play a gun line type army ("counts as" IG or Traitor Guard). I think that telling a story helps with the motivation of the game. If it matters that people are dying, the game takes on a more "real" feel. One of my favorite sequence of games was when in a Bunker Assault I managed to pull out a draw against my brother's SoB. My HQ (Chaos Champion) ran away the first time his unit was shot up. The next game we played Ambush (I won the Strategy Roll, and so go to pick the mission). Needless to say, I slaughtered my bro on that mission (which heavily favors the ambushers). The storyline went that my HQ had ran away in order to lead my Bro's Inquisitor to her death.
I probably also fall into the #1 category as I always try to make sure there are adequate fire lanes.

Moostikal The Confused
10-04-2008, 22:26
Models eye view. if i can see the other board edge from pretty much anywhere alond my board edge, i try to fill the gap. Lots of terrain, i don't fight on planet bowling ball. 25% MIN 70ish% max 50% norm.

probably a an c

The_Outsider
11-04-2008, 01:12
Strategic - outside of campaigns for pickup games terrain needs to be for the benefit of both players and the game as a whole.

cailus
11-04-2008, 01:20
Definitely narrative.

I also try to make objectives realisitc.

For example the idea of capturing loot is daft (I think Pirate Marines - "Arrggh me hearties, I be Brother Long John Maximus. I fight fer the Emperor and fer treasure. Arrgh.").

So instead of loot I have more realistic military objectives - for example hills with good view point, key crossroads or trying to capture a fuel depot intact.

I create my scenarios and have decided to focus on more realistic military objectives/battles overall - e.g. breakthrough, encirclement, flanking etc. Of course I include plenty of 40K insanity such as randomly generated Daemons in Daemon Worlds etc.

dblaz3r
11-04-2008, 01:38
I prefer the story-centric setup. Gives me more of a feeling of realness.

intellectawe
11-04-2008, 04:43
Strategic.

If I am using a CC Army, more in the middle is better. If I am using a Shooting army, more around the edges is better.

TheKiiier
11-04-2008, 13:33
I voted that it really didn't matter but keep in mind that rarely did me, my brother and friends play at a store with terrain. In our case it was mostly in my basement, on the carpet covered floor with our armies fighting it out in a invisible square area with each of us coming in from corners (also note we only ever were into 3rd edition, everyone sorta drifted from the game before 4th except me and my slowly being dragged back in brother lol).

Funny though, now that I think about it we either were awesome generals or Gomer Pyle clones since when we played it was to the last however long it took with no fancy "missions" or anything like that but it was always a even, near stand still, match. Sure near the end game it got down to 2 players but not til after a long campaign of attrition against the other forces.

The armies we played:

Space Wolves
Deathwing
Tau
Necrons
Eldar

And all the permutations/variants allowed under those forces, so again, we either sucked hard or somehow always came up with balanced and competitive lists that stood up to whatever may be thrown our way.

Either way, sure had some great fun in those days. Ah, memories!

ManusMarines
11-04-2008, 17:25
For friendly games I usually use a combination of option A and option B.

For the most part I pick up a few area terrain pieces, a building or two, and a bunch of rocks and place them on the table, ask my opponent if he wants anything moved around, and then we dice off for table edge or just take the side we are standing by. Tends to let each player have a fair deployment zone and lanes of fire.

Fraggzy
11-04-2008, 17:46
it depends but usualy B+C

nightgant98c
11-04-2008, 20:21
We usually set up the terrain to make a nice board, with no table edge have a particular advantage, then we decide on the mission, and make adjustments as need to suit any special rules or oblectives.

Dreachon
11-04-2008, 20:27
I just set it up so it's good and real to us.

Killgore
11-04-2008, 21:03
i'd set it up so the battlefield looks cool and enjoyable to fight over

Varath- Lord Impaler
12-04-2008, 00:18
I chose Story Centric, but i make sure that neither player has any unfair advantages.

Once i had a game which was very funny, we had lots of trench and bunker terrain, but to make it interesting we deployed it all on the flanks, as if we were fighting *Across* no mans land, instead of normal up and over.

It was great, it meant that if your unit in a trench fired at another unit in a trench, they didnt get a cover save, but if a unit in no mans land fired into the trench, they did.

So it was a mad scramble for the units to get into the bunkers on the middle line of the table before our enemies did.

Grubnar
12-04-2008, 03:53
Ok, hopefully I'm approaching this topic from a more unusual standpoint rather than the usual. Here goes.

What is the methodology behind the way you set up terrain? No matter whether you set it all up yourself, you take turns with your opponent, or you ask someone else to do it, what is the motivation?

Do you set up the terrain with only the upcoming battle in mind, meaning that you are thinking about setting up strategic locations, thinking of how you can utilize them or go against them depending on who gets what side? You put aside thoughts of the terrain pieces necessarily making sense together. You're more interested in gameplay than background details.

Or do you primarily think of the tabletop and terrain as part of a story, making sure that things are set up appropriately. You pay attention to the terrain pieces, making sure that their location and existence in their current placement makes some kind of logical sense. The rationale for things being as they are might even lead to strategic disadvantages for one player or the other, depending on who gets that side . . . but hey, its still a pretty tabletop.

Or do you set everything up more randomly without thinking much of background OR strategy? You just smack those terrain pieces down and say, "ready to roll for sides?!"

I personally am mostly the second option with just a tad of the first. I think in terms of storyline, though I definately play to win. But even if I lose, if it was a decent game and a good story can be made out of it, I have enjoyed myself. And for me, terrain pieces that make sense in their placement and relationship to one another makes a huge difference in that regard.

Well, since we almost always play at my place, I almost always set up the terrain by myself before the game to save time. So Im the boss.

I try to aim for a fair battleground, no big advantages for one side, but I also try to arrange the terrain so that it makes sense.

Of course, how I arrange it depends on the kind of terrain Im useing. If it a forested area? A city of ruins? An industrial area? A rocky desert? or maybe some sort of mix of two or more areas?

I make my own terrain and I try to make so that I can use it to form very different battlefields.

big squig
12-04-2008, 08:04
Never random.

In most one off games I follow some simple guidelines:
- always have something LOS blocking near the center.
- 25% terrain.
- 1/3 should be difficult, 1/3 should be area, and 1/3 should be impassible.
- have advantageous terrain outside deployment zones. Make people work for it.
- no area greater than 12"x12" should be empty

If I'm doing an advanced game like sabotage or meat grinder or blitz like that, I'll set up the terrain to match the mission/story including things like fortifications and obstacles at the defender's discretion.