View Full Version : Where do you prefer your terrain to be?

28-11-2009, 01:04
If you were out to make an interesting battlefield for two people to play on so that both could have a good battle, where would you prefer the terrain to be?

I ask because I'm fiddling with a new method for setting up terrain. It will be semi-random and work by having the players draw a card from each of two decks. One card will list the terrain pieces to be used, the other will show where the pieces go. By having a dozen cards of each type, I will get 144 different terrain setups, which will not be completely random (completely random can easily lead to very awkward battlefields), but still varied.

Now, to make the twelve position cards, I thought I'd get some input on where people would prefer to have the terrain. Do you prefer to have the 24" diameter circle in the center empty of terrain as the rulebook suggests, or are you okay with terrain anywhere? How much terrain would you prefer in the deployment zones? How much on the flanks? And for that matter, how many terrain pieces do you prefer?

Note that I'm only interested in hearing about terrain setups that would be interesting for both players - I already know how a table set up to only favour the Dwarf player would look. ;)

Thank you for any input. :)

28-11-2009, 02:09
Put it anywhere. Terrain is the spice of the game. Honestly at my local gee dub they constantly have fantasy megabattles on 2 tables with like a forest a hill and a house. Boring. Having a big open circle in the middle also has a kind of unnatural feel to it IMO. As long as the terrain doesn't obviously favor 1 army (I'm thinking like 10 forests in WE vs TK) it's all good.

28-11-2009, 02:14
I like to place the terrian to be honest and let the opponet pick an edge. When deploying I like to make the terrian add to the game - blocked lines of sights, defensive positions were troops can advance and use boulders/forests to gaurd their flanks, and keep enough open spaces to allow for wheeling/marching and more importantly - FIGHTING!!!
I like the leave the centre empty, but not with a 24" killing zone in the centre!

28-11-2009, 02:31
I always like interesting terrain. I remember fighting one game over a crossroads which featured a small hamlet smack bang in the middle of the table and the main fighting took place in some small field and a orchard. Another time I was trying to hold a ruined chapel in the depth of the forest (tons of woods and a single building).

I like discussing this kind of thing with my opponant before the game. Setting up secondary goals always adds more scope into the battles and can at least give the losing side a moral victory if they've succeded in their objective. I just like something to add extra spice to a game and terrain is a great way to do this IMHO.


The Red Scourge
28-11-2009, 07:14
I find the current rules decent. It represents the generals struggle to decide when and where to fight. And the random choice of side afterwards ensures an even field.

The game could use with some clearer rules for terrain - though clarifications are generally needed all over the BRB ;)

28-11-2009, 08:36
my regullar oponet had a habit off lining the terrain down the middle of the board then sitting and waiting for me to charge forward. so we've started dividing the table into six and rolling the scatter and attilery dice for each bit off terrain

28-11-2009, 09:38
I don't mean how you prefer to set up the terrain, I mean how you prefer the finished table to look.

28-11-2009, 10:20
Well seeing as half my army is fast calvary, knights, and the other half skirmishers, I'd prefer terrain all over the table.

When I play my rats though I want my deployment zone as clear as possible so I can play checkers-hammer.

28-11-2009, 10:45
On the table, of course :D

28-11-2009, 12:50
sorry avian i prefer a nice even spred maybe some type of settlement to fight over i like it so that it gives me some thing to think about

28-11-2009, 12:57
Do you prefer to have the 24" diameter circle in the center empty of terrain as the rulebook suggests, or are you okay with terrain anywhere?

I don't think we've ever respected that around here. And usually we put down a fair deal of terrain too; probably this would be unfair to shooty armies but 1) we don't care and 2) there's none around anyway. Yup, never seen a gunline. That being said, everything that annoyes those pesky bretonnian archers is good to take xD
So yeah, everywhere.

On the table, of course :D

This came later than I'd thought :p

28-11-2009, 13:06
I happen to like a large single item of terrian in the centre so that you can maneuvere around it or use it to protect a flank etc. It also helps to deal with gunline armies and brings the game back into balance against such forces. It does however force you to split your army or go all on one side so makes for a more tactically challenging game. Other than than, I like maybe a small wood or so to either side and the rest towards the edges for archers etc.

28-11-2009, 13:15
I would like to have it reflect the look of historical battles, but first you have got to get everyone to agree on the map.

28-11-2009, 18:54
I prefer it not to be in the deployment zone, but I don't agree with the no terrain in the centre thing. It makes sense from an idealistic and logical point of view, massed armies aren't lokely to engage in heavy terrain, but it does make the game a little samey at times if you do

28-11-2009, 19:02
24" circle of space in the middle
Decent spread of terrain with fairly reasonable gaps between them
Nothing overly useful in either deployment zone

That's how I like the terrain to be.
Enough space to run around in, enough to hide from and not enough hills for gunlines to work properly.

28-11-2009, 19:50
Having the middle free is important for game balance. Armies with a large footprint are at a big disadvantage with too much terrain in the middle. I like a hill on each side and a forest on one side and a building on the other.

28-11-2009, 19:52
The osprey game had a really interesting terrain system, and having played it, I really liked it, but I don't think it would work for warhammer as it currently is.

When I was checking out other game systems, I found an interesting older game which had victory conditions tied to characters. For example, you could roll up that your character was here for loot so every building you destroyed or civilian killed or captured gave you VP. So after you rolled up what each character was after you got to place up to 2 pieces of terrain (of up to a certain size) per character you had. So it created scenarios where I was here to defend a shrine, which was not on my half of the table, and you were here to loot this village. I've always wanted to convert that to warhammer somehow.

As for my warhammer battles, I prefer battle fields that make sense. Like where you have orchards near farmlands, instead of forests and swamps. I like the terrain to be fair and not one sided (i have a hill for ranged goodness, and he gets an area of open difficult terrain isn't cool) I prefer the center of the table to be open unless there s an objects smack in the middle to fight over.

28-11-2009, 19:56
I feel the 24" diameter just seems to funnel models into the middle, and eliminates a degree of tactics and manouevring for at least one side.

A nice smattering of terrain across the board can lead to some really interesting decisions and exciting battles.

Therefore, my preference for a finished table would be for 4-7 pieces, placed across the whole table.

Maybe something along the lines of each player (alternating) draws 2 cards (terrain, then location), then roll a D6 - on a 3+, draw another, then a D6, on a 4+ draw another, then again, but on a D6 roll of 5+, then a roll of 6 - giving a potential of 4-7 pieces....

28-11-2009, 20:10
I actually quite like having a large centrepiece feature, a big ruin for instance, purely becasue it breaks up the battlefield and provides 2 main avenues of attack. A large empty space tends to result in 2 battle lines butting heads.

For the rest of the board I favour a moderate amount, probably at least 2 pieces per quarter.

The only thing I don't like are large areas of impassible terrain or large hills in deployment zones.

Hrokka `Eadsplitter
28-11-2009, 20:13
I prefer five-six terrain pieces spread over the board, usually three woods and three hills.
I can have terrain everywhere, as long as it don't disturb my shooting. A hill in the deployment zone is never wrong, especially if you field quarellerers/thunderers and other move-or-fire units.

28-11-2009, 21:28
Is it important to you that your half of the table and the opponent's half has (approximately) the same amount of terrain? That the deployment zones have the same amount of terrain? That the right and left halves of the table have the same amount of terrain?

Hrokka `Eadsplitter
28-11-2009, 21:35
Yes, it makes it feel more just than that
'You're taking that hill just because your quarellerers want to shoot something!'
'Oh yeah, you're taking the forest just to hide your spider riders!'
'You little...!' 'Aaaaarrgghh!!'

But seriously, it feels more even...

28-11-2009, 21:42
In a tournament setting then probably, if I'm honest, yes I would like it to be balanced from my side to my opponents side. Left to right, not so much...

In friendly play, leave it where it lands...

Alternatively, leave it where it lands in tourney play, but sort terrain out after choosing sides...

28-11-2009, 21:52
This is all very interesting, thank you. :)

So for example, if we divide the table in six bands lengthwise (making each band 8 inches wide and 6 foot long), you'd prefer something like one piece per band, most of the time?

Von Wibble
28-11-2009, 21:59
I would say that

1 hill in each deployment zone is OK, but not a big hill (we used to use the old 5 plastics boxes - that kind of size). And certainly not 2 hills...

Apart from that anything goes with one exception - the gap between any 2 pieces of terrain should be large enough for a ranked up 5 wide unit to fit through.

Tbh I've always been happy enough with the rules printed - though we only have 2 hills to place so gunlines don't get it all their own way.

28-11-2009, 22:11
I just want a method where one player can do the terrain setup in one minute and still get something that strikes a good balance between variation and balance. It occurred to me that one way of doing this was having all the thinking done in advance. That way, when my opponent says "Why don't you just set up the terrain?" I can produce an interesting battlefield without spending five minutes agonising about it.

To quote Mike Walker: "It cannot be left to the humans. They are just a bit too clever, dull or unpredictable to be allowed to do the scenery on their own." ;)

So now I'm trying to figure out what a good end result should be, so I can measure the success of my method.

28-11-2009, 23:25
A hill in the deployment zone is never wrong, especially if you field quarellerers/thunderers and other move-or-fire units.

Thats exactly why large hills in deployment zones are a bad idea.

I would say two 8-12" square pieces of terrain with upto three 4-6" linear pieces per quarter.

Basically a lot of terrain to restrict lines of fire and make maneuvering much more important (so more than just hills and woods) while not making the table too cluttered.

I also like placing terrain in a 'realistic' pattern, only placing walls around buildings or fields for example. That would be harder to implement though.

28-11-2009, 23:45
Okay, so thus far my Sudoku-inspired terrain algorithm (more details later) ensures that terrain will be evenly spread from long side to long side (so each player will have the same amount of terrain on his side of the table) and ensures that the terrain pieces will be a certain distance away from each other.
[I don't expect anyone else to agree, but I find figuring out these sorts of things fun.]

Next step.

Assuming that you were to have six pieces of terrain on the table, which sets of pieces would you have? Hrokka `Eadsplitter has already suggested one set, which was three woods and three hills, but please suggest others. I need twelve sets in total, though some could be repetitions.

29-11-2009, 01:54
On the standard 6x4 table, I like to have around 4-6 terrain piece. I want to be able to move around. We played mostly with the 24" free circle in the middle, but I won't mind with scenery in the center.

I don't necessarily need a hill in both deployment field if one side get one, but a least each side with something, like a forest or building to help defend against the hill if needed. Battlfield can't always be symetrical or "fair" :p

As for type of terrain, I like hill the most as it shape the battlefield and isn't a obstacle for movement most of the time. One or two forest at most (wich act mostly as obstacle for now tough instead of real cover, but they look good!). A water feature once in a while (river, lake or swamp) is nice for variety, and also some impassable terrain to spice it up (building, rock crop, etc).

29-11-2009, 08:46
The point of terrian is to keep it balanced.

If you do have a giant hill in one deployment zone, then stick something in the middle that will block line of sight to half of the table, limiting the effectiveness of the hill.

Also, if terrain is deployed before you roll for someone to choose their table side, then during terrain deployment you will be much fairer about it rather than trying to put it down to the advantage of one side. Once you have sorted your sides, it is time to deployment, and then you simply deploy your army, but take the terrain into mind - for example, you may know you will have those dwarf thunderers on that giant hill, so then you just deploy all your army on the other half of your deployment zone to advance en masse alongt one side away from the guns.

This is a game for tactics, and evolving strategies, not to pick your fights only when in a favourable position. Learning to be a better general is as rewarding as losing - marching towards a gunline when there was plenty of cover you COULD have used is a lesson only the idiots would ignore.

To the above question - I like a small hill in each deployment zone to one flank, so regular ranged weapons won't be able to reach the whole battlefield, and also only large enough for one unit or two artillery pieces, so any other ranged troops are stuck on flat ground. A large item towards the centre, though could be moved around to be 1/3 in rather than exactly half way. This is usually a large building, a fenced off area or a wood. Something that generally helpe to protect a flank from attack in some way, though not perfectly all the time - a wood won't stop you being charged but may keep you safe from missiles.

I also like a few small hedges or a broken wall or so to do the same to either side, and generally scattered about but not limiting movement on the whole - you have to be able to wheel a couple units besides each other to have a cohesive army. Then off on the far flanks, another large item, maybe a tower, or a wood, perfect for scouts to deploy in.

On any battlefield, even one split in half by a large object, there has to be a reasonably easy route through from one side to the other to travel through to get from one half to the other without being in a deployment zone.

That's my two cents.

29-11-2009, 09:00
Do you prefer to have the 24" diameter circle in the center empty of terrain as the rulebook suggests

Yes because infantry are screwed for having to maneuver around tons of crap in the middle of the board. And this games doesn't need anything else screwing infantry.

29-11-2009, 10:27
i really dislike the current system of setting up terrain. the whole i place you place is too convenient.

I like to ask someone else not currently busy to set up terrain because then it is not placed with a certian use in mind; because both sides of a battle wouldnt conveniently have 2 opposing hills facing opposite eachother

29-11-2009, 10:40
Do you prefer to have the 24" diameter circle in the center empty of terrain

'nuff said.

as the rulebook suggests,


Thank you for any input.

You're welcome.

Sergeant Uriel Ventris
29-11-2009, 10:58
I prefer to have somewhat of a "balanced" set up, in the sense that the terrain should be random but not ridiculous. Also, having an open circle in the middle of every battlefield is just plain silly.

EDIT: Also, I agree with the idea of setting up terrain before you choose a table edge. That way by a roll of the dice you can pick the side that you prefer, if you're "lucky" enough to win the roll. As was said, in war you don't always get to pick the perfect battlefield. There so much randomness in the game with all the dice rolling already, you're not really doing any harm by possibly getting a bad side of the board.

29-11-2009, 11:09
I would disagree that terrain should be deployed so that a ranked up 5 wide unit can get through. Why should every unit be able to get through every gap? It makes you think a little more as a general if you have to adapt your plans to take into account narrow gaps, wide expanses and the like. A narrow gap can be exploited by skirmishers and scouts, smaller units, whilst the larger units have to pay the penalty of finding a different way round...

Actually, if you say a 5wide ranked unit should fit through, is that 20mm bases or 25mm bases... If it's 25mm bases, then why not 6 - all my 'ranked' cavalry in my Wood Elf army are 6 wide. And what about an ogre army. Even 3 wide they are wider that 5 20mm models...

The response to this is probably the same as my earlier point - they have to find other ways to get round. So why give the advantage to armies that have many units of 20mm based troops (Empire, Gobbos, Skaven etc)

Put the terrain as close as you want... it opens up all sorts of tactical decisions...

29-11-2009, 11:22
Well, I've printed out a set of test cards for terrain deployment and with a little luck I should be able to try the method out in a couple of battles today. Will report back on how it went.

@ Crube: The reason is that the units that start to struggle if gaps between terrain become to narrow (large blocks of infantry, most notably) are the units that struggle generally, so you're just punishing them more. Meanwhile, the units that can slip though narrower gaps (monsters), run though the terrain as if it was not there (skirmishers), go over the terrain (flyers) or move swiftly around it (cavalry) don't need the boost relative to infantry blocks. :)

As for the width of the gaps, I think mine are about 8", which should fit most units.

29-11-2009, 11:35
mmmm, I can see your point... it's just in my experience (playing Woodies) that horde type armies are able to add that bit more manouvrability to their arsenal, negating a little of my supposed advantage. I've played in a couple of games though where the terrain was probably not set up as it should've been and the gaps were narrower than they should be, and we had a crackingly close game...

Still, probably just my biased opinion based on the army I play :D

Be interesting to hear how things turn out (and maybe see the patented Avian Terrain generating cards ;))

Idle Scholar
29-11-2009, 13:29
Almost no terrain in the deployment zone and no more than one small hill. Also I like each side to have some disadvantage. Usually I leave a wide enough gap on each flank for units to move up and down, but then some terrain for skirmishers to move through. I like using lots of hills, especially in the centre, as they don't restrict movement that much but mess up lines of sight and provide advantages and disadvantages to the units on top of them.

30-11-2009, 00:50
TBH I prefer as little terrain as possible, and to have it spread out as far as possible. However I am yet to fight a gun line, so my opinion of terrain might change :p

30-11-2009, 01:12
I like the centre open then terrain separtaing flanks at certain points and maybe a hill or 2 in some deployment zones. If not i like at least one avenue open enough for afew units to comfortably walk down while still being flankable.

Gork or Possibly Mork
30-11-2009, 04:34
Interesting idea. Will you be making these cards available for download when you finish making/testing them out?

Generally when my group plays we keep the center of the field open but sometimes it's fun to have something big right in the center to mix things up a bit and makes you split your forces more or go heavy on one flank.

So maybe one or 2 of your cards could have a center setup for varieties sake.

We play with 6-8 terrain pieces on a larger table and 4-6 on a smaller table and 2-4 on an even smaller table. I must say I like to go with uniform numbers
but it doesn't really matter if each side gets the same number of hills or woods etc. That kind of defeats the advantage of being able to pic a side if everything is perfectly uniform.

Usually we use mostly woods and hills for the first 6 pieces and the less common terrain for the other two such as a building, swamp, impassible cliff or barricades such as fences, hedges etc.

We normally divide the board into eight sections and a terrain piece is placed in each one starting from a corner section moving along ( as you read a book ) rolling a dice for each section 1-3 hill, 3-5 woods, 6 being other as mentioned above.

Another alternative to precisely placing terrain on of the eight sections is placing it as normal then randomly determining the final position using dice. e.g. roll a D6 for the upward/downward direction ( 1-3=up 4-6=down ) and a D6 for the left/right direction ( 1-3=left 4-6=right ) then rolling another D6 for how far in the directions previously rolled for. Or using scatter dice with d6.

The only thing I don't particularly like about that method above is by knowing those measurements it can give you a pre game idea on measurement which obviously could be an advantage concerning guessing during the game. However if you happen to remember the exact location of terrain and use that to judge a charge or shooting etc. well bravo to you your pretty sharp and should be rewarded for your powerful memory or punished for your cunning forgetfulness which ever the case may be.;)

30-11-2009, 12:44
Okay, so I've had a go with the terrain placement cards (i.e. half the total system) and it gave what I think was a quite interesting battlefield.

Two-player ("competitive") version
1) The two players alternate in picking three terrain pieces each to be used in the battle. Unless both players agree, there can be no more than three pieces of any one type (e.g. no more than 3 hills, 3 woods, etc.) and no piece can be more than 10" across (e.g. no 4-foot rivers).
The first piece chosen by the first player is piece A, the first chosen by the second player is piece B, and so on.

2) The terrain placement cards are then shuffled and one is drawn at random. The terrain is placed accordingly.

Coming up: One-player version

I have attached the twelve cards I have generated below. Print them, cut them out and use card sleeves, laminate them or something similar to protect them.

EDIT: uploaded the last six

Commodus Leitdorf
30-11-2009, 13:22
Not in the way of my Cannons preferably....In tournaments though I really don't get to decide so I just deal with it wherever it is.

30-11-2009, 14:20
Last six cards added to post above.

In case anyone's wondering how they were made, you start with a 6 x 9 grid of squares, each square representing an 8x8" area on the tabletop. Place a mark in each square apart from the six central ones to ensure that the centre of the board is free of terrain. (figure 1)

Randomly select one of the six rows and one of the squares in that row that has a mark. (figure 2)

Remove the marks in all the orthogonally adjacent squares as well as all the other squares in the same row and same column. (figures 3 and 4)

Repeat this procedure for each of the five remaining rows. (figure 5)

In the end you should be left with only six marks. (figure 6)
It is possible to end with only five marks, though this is unlikely. It didn't happen to me and I suggest that if it happens to you, you start over as it is more convenient if the cards all have the same amount of terrain pieces.

Lastly, randomly allocate the letters A through F to the six marks you have left and you are done. (figure 6)

With a decent number of cards (I made 12), you should get sufficient variation so that setup is not predictable.

30-11-2009, 15:02
I play on a 4' x 8' table. We divide the table up into 8, 2' x 2' sections and each section gets a piece of 8" x 8" terrain.
As for where it goes in each 2' x 2' section we do it with a dice role as follows.

[1] [2]
[5] [6]

Then roll a scatter and a d6 for final placement.

30-11-2009, 16:05
I'm happy with terrain anywhere, and in any amount.

A game with some terrain breaking up the center really changes the dynamics of the battle, as does lots of terrain to provide cover from enemy missiles.

Thats the best way to keep the game interesting, IMO. Play with different terrain set ups. See how you can use your army to work with different terrain to your advantage. Use some stuff that is impassible, and some stuff that barely hinders. Just mix it up!

30-11-2009, 23:30
People were very helpful in the other thread, so based on what types of terrain people like to have in their battles, I have made a set of terrain selection cards to go with the terrain placement cards. It's just a first draft, of course, and ones with proper graphics and things will follow. Now at least we can have the:

One-player version
1) Draw a terrain placement card and a terrain selection card (if you don't have the terrain pieces listed on the selection card, draw another).

2) Place terrain according to the two cards.

Simple, innit?

30-11-2009, 23:40
Avian, would you be interested for graphics on these cards?

I did the scenery in this thread: http://asrai.org/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=15610 to provide some bits for people to use. (WFO is just warhammer played over a forum using a graphics program to measure and move things).

So would just be a picture of the terrain piece, from a 'top down' perspective, with a label. If you are, let me know and i can have a go.

01-12-2009, 08:09
That would be very cool. I had a look at the pics you linked to and they are most impressive. :)

I see you have a lot of the various types already (why is there a Giant Fish Skeleton, though???) and with a bit of cropping and resizing there's really only woods and walls that are not there already (maybe have a section of scrub instead of standing stones).

Did you have any ideas of where to put the graphics? Having all the types listed on the card as the background, perhaps? Or just having a single (or a few) beneath the text?

Thanks again. :)

EDIT: Better example of second layout

01-12-2009, 10:48
I'd like lots of terrain on the table, but the average game of six turns would not permit a number of units, especially slow moving ones or ones hindered by terrain to engage, or at least not to engage on terms favourable to them.

A system that creates realistic battlefields would be welcome, since players that don't field any or a substantial proportion of missile units aren't enthusiastic about hills, especially when carefully placed by human hands and malice aforethought.

02-12-2009, 00:22
quite busy during the week so i'll have a play with it over the weekend Avian :)

i was thinking something like this (with the name of the terrain piece in the 'scroll'). this is just a 1minute mock up in MS paint, but roughly actual size.

02-12-2009, 06:03
Very cool. That would be great. :)

08-12-2009, 15:49
Greetings from Trondheim! Havnt been any fantasy campaigns here since you left! I played Empire, blue kingdom in the 2008 campaign.

This system is just brilliant. Ill see if i get to try it out one day. Havnt been playing FB for a while now.


08-12-2009, 18:18
Thanks, man. :)
I'd be very grateful for any feedback from play testing. I've used the cards twice (both times using only the placement cards) and I'm very happy with them so far.

08-12-2009, 18:23
Are you including linear obstacles (walls, hedges, barricades...) in your setups?

08-12-2009, 18:30
The selection cards attached in post #47 includes obstacles on some of the cards (5 out of 12), yes. If you are using the two-player variant then it will depend on what the players select. Neither of my battles had obstacles.

08-12-2009, 18:39
Interesting idea Avian.

If I get a game in tomorrow I'll give it a try :)

Cypher, the Emperor
08-12-2009, 22:13
someone at my store made a deck like that.
We used it a couple times, but in the end just went back to the table in the 6th ed book.

08-12-2009, 22:25
Scenery is great, but the rules don't facilitate it.

I always like to have the 24" empty centre for the game to be played out, and as interesting as possible arrangement round the edge to beautify the table and allow skirmishers to have some fun. Afterall, historic big battes were often fought in open plains and fields, not copses or swamps.

I'd be inclined to have theme-able variables on the cards. Like scenery pieces a, b, and c shown on the card, then a chart which says what a,b,c are if say you're playing a swamp battle or a forest battle. Just decide on the theme before.

09-12-2009, 09:30
Themed cards are definitely to be added at a later point once I'm sure the generic ones are working. :)

@ Cypher: Please tell us a bit more. How similar were they? What worked and what did not? Why did you end up dropping them?

09-12-2009, 11:37
When I play, the terrain is usually spread out over the entire board, leaving some gaps here and there. I'm not sure if this is the best way to set up terrain though, it could be fun to try different ways, lke concentrating everything on one side, or in the middle for example.

09-12-2009, 13:45
usually ends up being two hills and two forests with a piece or two for looks for the typical smackdown game.


.....W.................. H



Fun games usually get set up with a theme in mind, an old graveyard with random spawns of "npc" zombies or other such quirky stuff.