Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day Four - Filler

Sorry for the delay in posting - started a new job last week and it has cut into my time here.  Well, that coupled with the fact that most of my tools and supplies are still not here yet.  I will be posting again soon however - broke down and raided Hobby Lobby last night.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day Three - the Basics

So, where do we start?

The most basic piece of terrain that you will encounter in gaming is the figures base.  To start a base, one needs to gather a few materials.

I usually start with fine grain sand - the smaller the grain the better. Then I add several different sizes and colors of ballast in differing ratios depending on what effect I am going for.

Playground sand is good - however the smallest container I've found it in is a 5 lb bag - more sand than you will ever need for basing or other projects, so I pick up a container of craft sand from my local craft store.  Its cheap, fine and comes in 1 lb bottles.

Next I raid the Woodland Scenics shop - and start mixing in ballasts.  From small to large, it all goes in the sand, up to and including one or two pieces of Talus - there are occasional large rocks mixed in everywhere you look.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day Two

Yesterday I asked where to begin.  A good place to begin is with an idea of what you want your terrain to look like, and then start looking for photos to get ideas.

Also, an understanding of why battles are fought where they are fought helps as well. In gaming we tend not to think towards the why just the where - most games I've played over the years have been the equivalent of playground basketball games - sides are picked, troops sorted out to the various players, and to misquote Sherlock Holmes, the game is then afoot.  But at no time (even when playing historicals) has a lot of thought been given to the where and why - terrain is assembled as an afterthought a lot of times - a scattering of trees, a road, a river and a few hills and you are ready to play almost anything - from Ogg and Slogg the Orc(k) brothers slugging it out up to and including 40K (yes I have played games of 40K where we had Space Marines running around on hill and dale - because we lacked buildings).  And before some history major nazi type points out that a whole lot of battles are the equivalent of pickup basketball games I understand that - but the vast majority of major battles and even minor ones are not the result of just blundering about on random terrain until you meet the enemy.

I understand that the game is the thing - but as gamers we should put at least as much effort into the surface we play on as we do into the minis we play with, right?

So, you should have a plan.  My plan oddly enough is a desert themed planet (my orkses are already by and large on or going on desert themed bases).  Based very loosely on where I have spent 5 of the last 7 years since 2004, and what I have seen there, along with portions of the American Southwestern Desert.

Why?  Because its my little world.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day One

I've always felt that the best way to start a discussion on a topic is to have a understanding of the topic itself.  So we're on the same page, I've visited the Marion-Webster website to grab a couple of definitions:

Topography:  the art or practice of graphic delineation in detail usually on maps or charts of natural and man-made features of a place or region especially in a way to show their relative positions and elevations

Terrain:  the physical features of a tract of land

Battlefield:   a place where a battle is fought

So, our whole purpose will to be to recreate, in a small scale, of course, the topography and terrain of the battlefield - or at least my purpose will be to do so :P.

Now, having said that, the terrain you build for your gaming will depend on the game you play.  The terrain for a game played using first century Romans and Persians will be much different than the underhives of Warhammer 40000 - as will the chosen battlefields, in my opinion - although a lot of  40k battlefields I've seen could be used for Romans as well - flat tabletops with a few hills and trees to break things up.

A second consideration should be how big a playing surface you have -  if you are playing small tight games on a small tabletop, you need less terrain pieces than you would for a larger table.  In addition to playing surfaces, you need to consider storing your terrain as well - the more pieces, the larger the size of said pieces, the more storage space they will take - which should be a consideration.

With all that being said, where do we begin?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Opening Day

So, here we go.  A place to publish my philosophy and ideas for basing, vehicles, and game table topography.  And a few how to's as well.

If you've played for any period of time, you've probably played with substitutes - I know I have.  Somehow the idea of playing using books, boxes and other items to represent the buildings and hills that you would find in the real world only appeals for a limited time to me these days, and I want to do something about it.  In doing something about it, I thought would share those tips that work, and the failures as well -

So, sit back and enjoy the ride.