Some time ago I bought the most current GW battlemat to play my games on (and made a not-too-brilliant foldable board to put on top of the dinner table for the mat to go on, but the less said about that the better).

Now, for various reasons I didn't get around to making some terrain to go along with it. I have some old terrain made years ago, but that often did not work very well. It either didn't look very good, didn't go too well with miniature armies moving around on / in it, or didn't store well.

I still wanted to add some terrain, but it was only when I stopped by a game store on my holidays this last weekend that I found some materials I needed to kick off the project (some okay and cheap pine trees and a sheet with static grass that looked like the battle mat).

Now, my priorities for the terrain are:
- The primary concern is playability. No beautiful but awkward pieces unsuitable to ranked units. As a result, the pieces may look a bit more artificial than other people's terrain. See the Temple of Skulls, for an example of how I will not be doing it.
- The second concern is looks. The very simplest terrain would just be completely 2D cardboard cut-outs, but that wouldn't look any good. I want it to be basic and functional, but still inspiring to look at.
- The third concern is cost. I won't be paying £15 for each wood, but on the other hand I won't be making it out of toilet paper rolls either.
- The fourth concern is that it should go well with any of my three armies (greenskins, ogres and chaos warriors). There won't be any empire-style buildings, for example, and no summer meadows.
- The fourth concern is that it must be robust so that it doesn't break apart during play or storage.


Now, to make the terrain functional, I thought I'd set myself some rules. The first is about size. I want to make my terrain in size categories:
- Small terrain will be up to 15 x 15 cm in size (6 x 6 ")
- Medium terrain will be up to 20 x 15 cm in size (8 x 6")
- Large terrain will be up to 25 x 15 cm OR 20 x 20 cm in size (10 x 6" or 8 x 8")

This should keep terrain at a managable size. The last thing I want is a huge terrain piece I'll never use because it dominates the table and leaves little room for the actual armies. My terrain will be specifically built to work with FB.

Some terrain might be larger than this, but if so it will be modular (at some point I'd like to make a river, for example, but that will split into sections no more than 25 cm long).


The second is that it must be fairly flexible. All my terrain must go with all of my units. I won't be making a wood where only my Gnoblar Trappers will fit, for example. Because of this, everything that isn't flat will be removable.

I also intend to use this to my advantage, by making most of my area terrain (woods, scrubs, boulders) be based on a small selection of flat templates with slots where you can fit in detatchable trees, rocks or bushes (and maybe odder stuff like tents, mushrooms, gallows, latrines, gnoblar shacks or whatnot).

Occasionally I want to make a modular terrain table with the terrain built-in, but eventually I always dismiss the idea - I don't want to spend a lot of time and effort and risk it not being very suitable to gaming (having two hills be too close together, etc.). Invaribly I always conclude that separate terrain features and a flat table is what I want.


A third rule is that the terrain must be readily identifible as belonging to a narrow range of types:
- Woods. I bought a bag of ten pine trees ranging from 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6"), which I think is a reasonable compromise between what looks realistic and works in the game. I think I will want enough for one medium and two small woods. I might expand this later if we get better rules for woods in the game. The woods will use the generic templates and have loose trees on individual little bases that slot into them. My small woods will have slots for three trees and the medium one four trees.
- Hills. I happened to find a small sheet of paper with static grass on it that looks quite like my battle mat which will be cut up and added to the top of my hills (which will be flat). The hills themselves will be expanded styrofoam (I have some lying around somewhere) and textured on the sides. I will start off with one large hill, two medium ones and one small.
- Scrubs. Going with the generic templates I'm making for my woods, I will make scrub bases that slot into them, saving time, effort, storage space and money. I will make about seven of these, enough to get a small and a medium scrub, or two small ones.
- Boulders. I will make boulders from the same principle as the scrubs.
- Ruins. I will want a couple of ruins, probably no larger than medium size.
- Buildings. I will want at least one building of each size.
- Swampls. I will want a couple of swamps, no larger than medium size.
- Obstacles. I will want a handful of obstacles, about 6" long.