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Made in us
Stone Bonkers Fabricator General






A garden grove on Citadel Station

I'm going to be building terrain enough to cover a 4'x6' or 4'x8' table, and go really custom/high effort/whatnot on it.

Sometimes terrain is a beautiful cathedral that is so full of rocks and pillars that it's hard to play with.
Sometimes terrain is an ugly L-shaped wall acting as a ruin or general line-of-sight blocker.


What are some terrain features, structures, general areas, that have a good balance of Functional Play Space vs Looks Good?

Are small barricades useful scatter terrain or do they just get in the way?
Is rubble around the base of a Ruin a feature to make some area less usable, or is it just wasted space?
Is a hill worth it if you can't stand models up on the slope?
Is an industrial facility full of pipes and tanks a good LOS blocker, or is it something that might as well just be a big rock?

Has anyone incorporated any significant "make this look good/like a real environment" features into otherwise very plain terrain?
Has anyone reworked overly-detailed terrain to better provide space to move models around?
What terrain pieces do you use which are troublesome to actually put models in and play with?

Looking for others' experiences here, I'm very interested to hear what you've come up with, particularly if you've made a whole table of the stuff.

ph34r's forgeworld Phobos blog
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I have been scratch building terrain for years. At the start I went all out trying to make it realistic. Blown out metal structures would have all sorts of bent beams, destroyed floors would be at all sorts of angles etc.
I quickly found that they looked ok but were unplayable and often did not match a coherent theme. I can give you a set of guidelines that I now follow to much better effect.
- theme. What kind of surface am I playing on and what faction built any of the structures.
- terrain type. Is it los blocking, a barrier, area terrain etc.
- usability. Do I have enough flat surfaces to place miniatures on and in coherency. Is it easy to fit your hand inside large structures to place miniatures. Can my area terrain at least fit a ten man squad.
- is the terrain tough enough to be used over and over. No easily breakable flag poles etc.

Vim


Automatically Appended Next Post:
I have been scratch building terrain for years. At the start I went all out trying to make it realistic. Blown out metal structures would have all sorts of bent beams, destroyed floors would be at all sorts of angles etc.
I quickly found that they looked ok but were unplayable and often did not match a coherent theme. I can give you a set of guidelines that I now follow to much better effect.
- theme. What kind of surface am I playing on and what faction built any of the structures.
- terrain type. Is it los blocking, a barrier, area terrain etc.
- usability. Do I have enough flat surfaces to place miniatures on and in coherency. Is it easy to fit your hand inside large structures to place miniatures. Can my area terrain at least fit a ten man squad.
- is the terrain tough enough to be used over and over. No easily breakable flag poles etc.

Vim

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/28 17:39:15


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Well, I can tell you some of my successes and failures, as I have been in charge of terrain for a large club for years now and I have built and painted multiple tables worth of stuff.

Tips, in no particular order:

1) MDF is a very tempting investment, but be prepared to spend a LOT more time than you think putting it together and getting it primed, and plan your paint scheme around ONLY spray painting/airbrush and drybrushing.

MDF wood soaks up paint like a sponge if it has any water content at all. washing, not a thing you can do. This particular terrain bundle right here: http://deathraydesigns.com/product/rapid-vanguard-bundle/

Is the single best "cost vs gameplay usefulness vs aesthetics" MDF purchase I've ever made. The FLG "Factory" series is also pretty good, featuring large solid LOS blocking buildings with lift-off roofs, but the DRD set is much nicer looking, cheaper per the building, and most buildings in the set can fit at least a few models standing on top.

We took some hardboard, added bases to the buildings so you can get "toe-in" cover by standing on them and having LOS blocked by them partially, and they work great.

2) I hate hate hate sector mechanicus from a gameplay usefulness standpoint. We got an absolute boatload of stuff from GW for free from this series, and I tried my absolute ass off to try and make them useful from a gameplay standpoint, but they're just purely obnoxious. The platform is too far off the ground. the LOS blocking is impossible. The dangly bits make it too hard to move models around. The stuff looks AMAZING, but it's just a nightmare to play with.

The pipes and shipping containers from that series are fine, of course. Make good scatter.

3) New Sector Imperialis terrain is pretty easy to modify to make it fully LOS-blockable, I recommend it if you've the budget for fancy GW plastic. The buildings are big, and they can be easily made nice and long/wide to accommodate gameplay. Mostly, I had enough blocking walls to make the whole bottom floor opaque, which was exacly my goal. The only GW terrain series I would say is REALLY worth the money investment, and it looks great with a pure drybrush paintstyle or as fancy as you want to get.

   
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For a 6x4 table I follow the 25% guideline, so in total that means roughly six square feet or 864 square inches of terrain.

The way I see it, you can break down terrain features into four types:
1. Blocks LOS, blocks movement, like buildings.
2. Blocks LOS, but doesn't block movement, and can be occupied, like woods.
3. Doesn't block LOS, but does block movement, like bodies of water.
4. Doesn't block LOS, and doesn't block movement, but can be occupied as cover, like barricades or craters.

#1 and #2 are my go-to. #4 can be fun as long as it's large enough for units to occupy, but I try to keep the amount of terrain of this type fairly low, since it can lead to fairly static gameplay.

#3 needs to be kept limited. It's just too easy for 8th Ed to turn into a shooting gallery if the terrain forces chokepoints without restricting LOS.

Slopes don't neatly fit into any of the above categories, but can be nice to mix things up a bit, provided models can comfortably stand on them. I really dislike plastic molded hills where the models slide around.

Size is important. Too big and you don't get much meaningful interaction with the terrain. Too small and it just becomes an obstacle to maneuver.

If I wanted a generic mix of terrain for a single board, it'd probably go something like this:
-2-3 large buildings, about 8-16" on either side
-2-4 smaller buildings, 4-8" on either side
-2-4 patches of woods, roughly circular and 6-12" in diameter
-A couple of barricades, 6-10" long

In total that comes to roughly the recommended terrain coverage. Put a hill in there somewhere and you've got a very 'full' board.

Note that 'buildings' can also be cliffs, impenetrable woods, or anything else that fits category #1. 'Woods' can be swamps, jungle, or lots of small rocks (anything that could plausibly provide cover). There's a lot of flexibility here to fit any particular theme.

Oh, and for woods: I highly recommend the approach of having a large base to define the area of terrain, then having removable trees/bushes/jungle/etc on individual bases, so that they can be removed to make room for the units on the terrain. It makes it a lot easier to deal with than having to fit units around trees.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/28 17:53:41


 
   
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A garden grove on Citadel Station

Thanks for the posts guys, it definitely helps. If anyone else has thoughts on the matter, it would be great to hear.

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Multi story, line of sight blocking terrain.

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I think battlefield terrain should ideally include between four and six large-ish buildings, with at least one but ideally two of them in each deployment zone. I define large-ish as at least two stories, can block or hinder line of sight on a mid-sized vehicle, and can fit an entire infantry unit. No limit for the number of smaller obstacles like statues and crates.

There should not, however, be overly long barricades blocking movement across the table. You should never have to lose more than one turn circling around an obstacle.
   
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I like fewer large pieces with defined bases better than small scatter terrain; it's easy to bump into scatter terrain and knock it over, and when you need to plan space for something like a Knight you need a lot of open spaces on your battlefield.

I find ruins/buildings to strike the best balance between Functional Play Space and Looking Good, because they have flat surfaces you can fit models on easily (rather than slopes that top-heavy models fall off of) and make the field at least a bit three-dimensional rather than just sitting around on the ground. I find thinner walls and wide, square windows make a building easier to use; thick walls and narrow windows make line of sight difficult to determine and you may find yourself placing a model thinking they can see somewhere only to find they can't when all's said and done. You also need a good balance between walls with windows and walls without; impermeable things you can't see through to allow models to hide out of LOS are pretty much required to play 40k, but if all your walls are set up that way melee armies may find it too easy to hide and ranged armies may find it too difficult to set up LOS.

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About looks:

nothing says "high effort" in my eyes better than having a sculpted ground level instead of a printed mat. IMHO it adds way more realism than small details on the structures. The only problem here is you have to have storage space and way of transport for it. So no matter the theme you choose I would go for XPS base and then go vertical from that.

About functionality:

Thing I find very important - weight your terrain. You want to place models on top of it, sometimes way above the ground level, sometimes large models. You'll see all sorts of accidental pushing of terrain in batreps, because standard ruins and what not are very light. This does not happen if your terrain piece weights significantly more than models you're pushing around it.

As mentioned above - think about in-game function when designing/purchasing a piece of terrain. Sector Mechanicus mentioned earlier must be substantialy converted to be functional under 8th ed. This is great terrain system for skirmish games, but if you want to incorporate Sector Mechanicus pieces google/pinterest for horizontally oriented conversions and utilize a lot of half height pieces or model some collapsed walkways to block LOS on ground level. It can be done and looks great, but doesn't come straight out of the box.

And last but not least, I find rock formations and hills seriously underrated and underused amongst 40K crowd. If rendered to "high effort" they both look realistic and act realistic. Especially if you go vertical enough with them. But again, they tend to not be easily portable/stackable for storage/transport.
   
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Area to stand in, area to move through, LoS block walls at least leman russ height.

Throw on some generic forest base type things and you're good.

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 ph34r wrote:
I'm going to be building terrain enough to cover a 4'x6' or 4'x8' table, and go really custom/high effort/whatnot on it.

Are small barricades useful scatter terrain or do they just get in the way?
Is rubble around the base of a Ruin a feature to make some area less usable, or is it just wasted space?
Is a hill worth it if you can't stand models up on the slope?
Is an industrial facility full of pipes and tanks a good LOS blocker, or is it something that might as well just be a big rock?

Has anyone incorporated any significant "make this look good/like a real environment" features into otherwise very plain terrain?
Has anyone reworked overly-detailed terrain to better provide space to move models around?
What terrain pieces do you use which are troublesome to actually put models in and play with?

Looking for others' experiences here, I'm very interested to hear what you've come up with, particularly if you've made a whole table of the stuff.


For smaller terrain, I'd say small barricades are good as they are reasonably usable. Unfortunately, smaller things like realistically scaled tank traps and ammo cans just tend to get in the way.

Depends on the rubble. In some cases it is nice, as it provides a means by which infantry can stay in cover, even if they're outside a building.

If you're going to do hills, I personally recommend using stepped terrain. Slopes have proven to be way more difficult to use than they're worth. Stepped terrain will give you all the advantages of a hill, without the headaches of models tipping over.

For an industrial facility, if the first floor is lacking in windows it'll work just fine as a LOS blocker. I have also used spare/half-built models as terrain before and they look good.

As for making things look like a real environment, I typically try to arrange things in a way that makes sense. Generally I try to get some sort of street layout running, whether it be a park in the middle of a city or back alleyways. One thing I always try to do though is make sure that most regular vehicle models will be able to fit down the streets (and through archways if applicable.) If can be awkward setting up for a game only to realize that a lot of units can't do anything due to their size. If super heavies are involved, obviously take them into consideration. If you want to do a forest with trees and such, one thing you can do is use flat cardboard as a base and attach trees to it. Per 8th Edition rules, models must be "within" terrain to utilize it, and having the cardboard base for the forest is an easy way to indicate that a unit should be benefiting from the cover of the foliage.

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 AnomanderRake wrote:
I like fewer large pieces with defined bases better than small scatter terrain; it's easy to bump into scatter terrain and knock it over, and when you need to plan space for something like a Knight you need a lot of open spaces on your battlefield.

I find ruins/buildings to strike the best balance between Functional Play Space and Looking Good, because they have flat surfaces you can fit models on easily (rather than slopes that top-heavy models fall off of) and make the field at least a bit three-dimensional rather than just sitting around on the ground. I find thinner walls and wide, square windows make a building easier to use; thick walls and narrow windows make line of sight difficult to determine and you may find yourself placing a model thinking they can see somewhere only to find they can't when all's said and done. You also need a good balance between walls with windows and walls without; impermeable things you can't see through to allow models to hide out of LOS are pretty much required to play 40k, but if all your walls are set up that way melee armies may find it too easy to hide and ranged armies may find it too difficult to set up LOS.


on the other hand if you're playing with large knighs having a city scape enviroment with wide main streets the knights can go down, but narrow alleyways that infantry can use to manuver around it could make for a fun enviroment where the knight needs it's infantry for support rather just just as a CP battery

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London, Ontario

When I build terrain, I consider the following effects on the game.

Movement:
No-impact: open ground, low craters, 1” ascent, low walls
Difficult terrain: Woods, ruins, Marsh, 2” ascent
Impassible: some buildings, lava, acid, industrial grinder, 3” ascent

Line of Sight:
No impact: river, low crater, mine field
Obscured: (generally, provides cover) low hills, low walls, within trees
Blocks: Ruins (except windows / openings), tall hills, tall walls, big rocks

Cover:
None: unusual, exposed face of a hill
Soft: (wouldn’t stop a bullet) wood, thin metal, most natural substances
Hard: (would stop a bullet) fortifications, strong ruins, trenches

Other effects:
Dangerous: razor wire, tank traps, aggressive wildlife, on fire
Beneficial: ammunition store, special objective, automated defences
Weird: Teleporter, summoning, elevator controls

So between those things, an interesting mixture or theme.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/08/29 21:53:26


 
   
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A garden grove on Citadel Station

nou wrote:
About looks:

nothing says "high effort" in my eyes better than having a sculpted ground level instead of a printed mat. IMHO it adds way more realism than small details on the structures. The only problem here is you have to have storage space and way of transport for it. So no matter the theme you choose I would go for XPS base and then go vertical from that.

About functionality:

Thing I find very important - weight your terrain. You want to place models on top of it, sometimes way above the ground level, sometimes large models. You'll see all sorts of accidental pushing of terrain in batreps, because standard ruins and what not are very light. This does not happen if your terrain piece weights significantly more than models you're pushing around it.

As mentioned above - think about in-game function when designing/purchasing a piece of terrain. Sector Mechanicus mentioned earlier must be substantialy converted to be functional under 8th ed. This is great terrain system for skirmish games, but if you want to incorporate Sector Mechanicus pieces google/pinterest for horizontally oriented conversions and utilize a lot of half height pieces or model some collapsed walkways to block LOS on ground level. It can be done and looks great, but doesn't come straight out of the box.

And last but not least, I find rock formations and hills seriously underrated and underused amongst 40K crowd. If rendered to "high effort" they both look realistic and act realistic. Especially if you go vertical enough with them. But again, they tend to not be easily portable/stackable for storage/transport.

By that you mean, a Ruin or building or some such has its own base, rather than being free-standing on the table? Or do you mean, a sculpted ground level as in a sanded painted and flocked 6x4 board?

I really like your weight idea. I was thinking about this the other day, because in the past I have weighted down some of my plastic infantry that were too light. Weighing the terrain sounds like a very good addition.

That sucks about the Sector Mechanicus.... because I have 3d files for it and a 3d printer so I would like to make it work somehow! I guess a main issue is making the large objects actually fully block line of sight instead of having holes everywhere.

BrianDavion wrote:
 AnomanderRake wrote:
I like fewer large pieces with defined bases better than small scatter terrain; it's easy to bump into scatter terrain and knock it over, and when you need to plan space for something like a Knight you need a lot of open spaces on your battlefield.

I find ruins/buildings to strike the best balance between Functional Play Space and Looking Good, because they have flat surfaces you can fit models on easily (rather than slopes that top-heavy models fall off of) and make the field at least a bit three-dimensional rather than just sitting around on the ground. I find thinner walls and wide, square windows make a building easier to use; thick walls and narrow windows make line of sight difficult to determine and you may find yourself placing a model thinking they can see somewhere only to find they can't when all's said and done. You also need a good balance between walls with windows and walls without; impermeable things you can't see through to allow models to hide out of LOS are pretty much required to play 40k, but if all your walls are set up that way melee armies may find it too easy to hide and ranged armies may find it too difficult to set up LOS.


on the other hand if you're playing with large knighs having a city scape enviroment with wide main streets the knights can go down, but narrow alleyways that infantry can use to manuver around it could make for a fun enviroment where the knight needs it's infantry for support rather just just as a CP battery
This is a huge problem that I run into. I commonly run a Knight (oval base so can sideways-shuffle through things passably) as well as Mechanicus Dunecrawlers (130mm base normally, I changed mine over to 100mm for just this reason), and my shadowsword conversion which is on a 160mm base.

My group of people playing 40k really likes to make 'full' looking tables without large blank areas, but it makes it a huge huge pain to move large round bases... which I have a ton of.

-Guardsman- wrote:
I think battlefield terrain should ideally include between four and six large-ish buildings, with at least one but ideally two of them in each deployment zone. I define large-ish as at least two stories, can block or hinder line of sight on a mid-sized vehicle, and can fit an entire infantry unit. No limit for the number of smaller obstacles like statues and crates.

There should not, however, be overly long barricades blocking movement across the table. You should never have to lose more than one turn circling around an obstacle.
In your opinion should all tables have some amount of Ruins or solid skyscraper-like buildings/walls?

I like those things but it would also be nice to be able to play in an environment that isn't always "in the middle of some sort of city", so I would be trying to think of ways to make stuff like a small hill and some Sector Mechanicus tanks be the same size and shape and playable utility as a Ruin or other building.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/08/30 17:57:22


ph34r's forgeworld Phobos blog
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The Polito form is dead, insect. Are you afraid? What is it you fear? The end of your trivial existence?
When the history of my glory is written, your species shall only be a footnote to my magnificence.
 
   
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London, Ontario

Tiered hills with "fortified walls" around the outer edges make for a workable ruin substitute, without needing to worry about it blocking LOS on the ground floor.

Take 1" thick layers of foam, cut to a hill shape, and start moving upwards. 1" Climb, no effect. 2" climb, difficult terrain, 3" climb, impassible to units without fly.

Wherever you have a "standing section, make sure there are room for 40 mm bases. Roughly 2" squares per model to be in that area. A 6" x 2" area can fit 3 Termies, 4 Marines, or 5 Guardsmen (zig-zagged). Bonus points for spiraling the hill up to a plateau on top.

| = wall
___ = standing area
/ \ represents incline between tiers
periods are space fillers so the hill keeps shape.

..…………………………………………………..|______|
……………………………………….|______/…………...\
…………………………………….../…………………..……..\
……………………….....|_____/…………………………….\
.................|______/...........................................\
................/.........................................................\
.|______/.............................................................\

Such a piece is about 7" tall, and if you imagine a round-ish hill, each tier represents about 1/4 of the spiral around the hill. You'd wind up with a roughly 12" diameter hill... ish. This piece provides cover, blocks LOS, and can impact movement depending on which side of the hill you approach.

This message was edited 6 times. Last update was at 2019/08/30 18:48:59


 
   
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Don't overlook transportation. The greatest terrain in the world is useless if you can't practically get it to the game location to play with.

Now if you game at home or there is storage aplenty at the local shop/club then you're fine. If not then you've got to consider the overall size and if it can be modular and broken down into segments to aid transporting.

Modularity and size are also important in terms of variety. It means you can change things up with the same terrain without having to make more; whilst single fixed items can be more impressive and built to any design, they are static in appearance and functionality.



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By sculpted ground level I mean modular boards, something like this



or this



so when you put any structures on top, they look like part of an actual landscape, not a sunday festival decorations on the footbal field, like this



This is mine (unpainted):



and here it is with some Sector Mechanicus on top of it (this was setup for Necromunda):



IMHO this is the best of two worlds - it is a step down from more diorama-style with built in features like this one:



but leave you with enough freedom of layout so replay value is huge while still looking significantly more "high effort" than isolated structures on a mat. And because ground level is in-game meaningfull terrain on it's own (except for the second example above of sculpted road/pavement only) it allows to create a lot more varying tactical situations than solely shifting structures around the flat table.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/08/30 19:04:28


 
   
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A few other question for you. Is 40k your only game, or will you also use it in kill team?

Do you play Campaign style- ie. do buildings need to change as your story progresses?

Do you like gaming with an exploration/ roleplay/ story hook?

What types of worlds would your army attack and which types of worlds would they defend?

Okay. In my case, I only play campaign style, so a building that gets bombed in game two needs to be able to show battle damage in game 3, if not immediately when it happens. So sometimes, I design cardboard buildings with break away portions.

Lately though, because I play Blackstone and Kill Team, I've been wanting to create missions where players need to explore building interiors to find what they're after; I also run games where cults are recruiting civilians and gangers, which also requires interaction with building interiors. This has the added bonus of allowing us to use cityfight terrain rules, which are better than standard 40k terrain rules.

So now instead of breakaways, I build stack building levels, so that if we want to place models on level 1, we remove levels 2-?. Even once the stacked levels are removed, the rooms on the revealed level are still covered so that players can't see what's inside until they declare that a model is entering the room.

Room by room reveal lends an almost RPG quality to the game.

I always build scenery with the concept of "Territories" in mind- think the Streets of Death component of Urban Conquest; you can tell by looking at the table that is a refinery or church or military complex. And I always build more scenery for every table than I need for any one game, just to give me options.

Now I'm a real nerd, and I take this kinda stuff WAY too far. But cardboard is free! All it costs is time, and if you screw it up, just learn from it and build again.

I had to take a scenery break because I've been participating in a model painting challenge all summer, but tomorrow is the deadline, so I'm looking forward to getting back to it.

My next big project is to recreate the Ecclesiarchy vessel Clarion from Blackstone Fortress in 40k scale. It should be making an appearance in our campaign next summer.

As a test run, I'm going to create a 40k scale TrueHawk model from Kill Team: Rogue Trader. It's easier because the design for the floor plan is already done. I'm not ready for the Clarion yet, but the TrueHawk should teach me everything I need to learn.
   
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PenitentJake wrote:A few other question for you. Is 40k your only game, or will you also use it in kill team?
Do you play Campaign style- ie. do buildings need to change as your story progresses?
Do you like gaming with an exploration/ roleplay/ story hook?
What types of worlds would your army attack and which types of worlds would they defend?
Okay. In my case, I only play campaign style, so a building that gets bombed in game two needs to be able to show battle damage in game 3, if not immediately when it happens. So sometimes, I design cardboard buildings with break away portions.
Lately though, because I play Blackstone and Kill Team, I've been wanting to create missions where players need to explore building interiors to find what they're after; I also run games where cults are recruiting civilians and gangers, which also requires interaction with building interiors. This has the added bonus of allowing us to use cityfight terrain rules, which are better than standard 40k terrain rules.
So now instead of breakaways, I build stack building levels, so that if we want to place models on level 1, we remove levels 2-?. Even once the stacked levels are removed, the rooms on the revealed level are still covered so that players can't see what's inside until they declare that a model is entering the room.
Room by room reveal lends an almost RPG quality to the game.
I always build scenery with the concept of "Territories" in mind- think the Streets of Death component of Urban Conquest; you can tell by looking at the table that is a refinery or church or military complex. And I always build more scenery for every table than I need for any one game, just to give me options.
Now I'm a real nerd, and I take this kinda stuff WAY too far. But cardboard is free! All it costs is time, and if you screw it up, just learn from it and build again.
I had to take a scenery break because I've been participating in a model painting challenge all summer, but tomorrow is the deadline, so I'm looking forward to getting back to it.
My next big project is to recreate the Ecclesiarchy vessel Clarion from Blackstone Fortress in 40k scale. It should be making an appearance in our campaign next summer.
As a test run, I'm going to create a 40k scale TrueHawk model from Kill Team: Rogue Trader. It's easier because the design for the floor plan is already done. I'm not ready for the Clarion yet, but the TrueHawk should teach me everything I need to learn.

Good questions. Might want to use it for kill team, probably won't need to have "intact vs bombed out" of the same building as far as campaigns would be concerned.
I like story hooks, and I like planets that combine industrial facilities with wastelands and small patches of grass.

That scale spaceship project sounds awesome. I'll be very interested to see the results.

greatbigtree wrote:Tiered hills with "fortified walls" around the outer edges make for a workable ruin substitute, without needing to worry about it blocking LOS on the ground floor.

Take 1" thick layers of foam, cut to a hill shape, and start moving upwards. 1" Climb, no effect. 2" climb, difficult terrain, 3" climb, impassible to units without fly.

Wherever you have a "standing section, make sure there are room for 40 mm bases. Roughly 2" squares per model to be in that area. A 6" x 2" area can fit 3 Termies, 4 Marines, or 5 Guardsmen (zig-zagged). Bonus points for spiraling the hill up to a plateau on top.

| = wall
___ = standing area
/ \ represents incline between tiers
periods are space fillers so the hill keeps shape.

..…………………………………………………..|______|
……………………………………….|______/…………...\
…………………………………….../…………………..……..\
……………………….....|_____/…………………………….\
.................|______/...........................................\
................/.........................................................\
.|______/.............................................................\

Such a piece is about 7" tall, and if you imagine a round-ish hill, each tier represents about 1/4 of the spiral around the hill. You'd wind up with a roughly 12" diameter hill... ish. This piece provides cover, blocks LOS, and can impact movement depending on which side of the hill you approach.

That seems like a very solid option to me, thanks for the diagram.

Overread wrote:Don't overlook transportation. The greatest terrain in the world is useless if you can't practically get it to the game location to play with.
Now if you game at home or there is storage aplenty at the local shop/club then you're fine. If not then you've got to consider the overall size and if it can be modular and broken down into segments to aid transporting.
Modularity and size are also important in terms of variety. It means you can change things up with the same terrain without having to make more; whilst single fixed items can be more impressive and built to any design, they are static in appearance and functionality.
Right, that's part of my wondering. Storing terrain is tough, I'm hoping to minimize the number of superfluous items or things that will end up sitting on the shelf and not getting used.

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Another thing to bear in mind here:

The game explicitly gives players permission to "house-rule" all terrain structures as they see fit, and gives everything in the current book as examples, even going so far as to mention bases on ruins as a feature that "might" exist.

All typical rules that people associate with terrain in 8th, even if you go strictly and only "by the book" are house rules, because at the end of the day players do have to agree what is actually representing what (I'm sure someone will Um Ackshually here to say they have a whole table built up to be perfectly RAW with only the exact terrain pieces shown in the BRB alongside the terrain rules.)

If you take the BRB definitions of the following terrain pieces:

-Difficult Terrain
-Ruins (with associated rules for Ruin Levels, etc)
-Barricades
-Forests
-Add "Statuary" as a generic type, removing the +LD rule from "Imperial Statuary"

And you add the following as generic subtypes, which can be applied to any terrain piece on the table as agreed upon by both parties:

-Sight Blocking. Any shooting attacks that attempt to draw line of sight through any part of the base of this terrain feature cannot be made.
-Dangerous. If one or more unmodified saving throws of 1 is rolled while a unit claims Cover from this terrain feature, the unit suffers a mortal wound after fully resolving the shooting attack.
-Difficult. Halve the results of any Advance or Charge rolls made by a unit claiming Cover from this terrain feature.
   
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Any form of terrain that provides any form of immunity from game mechanics/units is a bad terrain IMO.

Currently, non-INFANTRY units without FLY suffers heavily from terrain, especially when combined with BRB rule (as in, not house-ruled ruleset) which doesn't disallow placement of objectives on top of multi level ruins.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/03 19:54:24


 
   
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Hmmm, I actually 100% disagree with you there. If anything, terrain which requires a mix of units and can safeguard units from other threats is actually perfect and makes the game far more interesting.

There are some rules gap from GW on this, but if anything there is not nearly enough adverse terrain that requires a flexible army.

I'm speaking from a proper wargame stance and not a tournament stance. If you're attending tournaments that's a conscious decision you've taken to play a very narrow slice of the game - so I don't really care about complaints regarding tournament competitiveness of armies/units.

 
   
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I'd like to bring up one aspect that I think is getting overlooked: Useable stairs for multi-level terrain. I get that steps big enough to hold even 22mm models look comically out of scale, but there's a very specific reason: because of how measuring for assault works, it's very easy for a unit to make itself unassaultable by taking up space with models on the floor. Having a physical connector that can hold models (instead of a ladder or some other implied means of moving up and down) prevents that situation. It still gives a tactical advantage (you're unlikely to get all your attacks if you're forced to move in a line), but it no longer creates a situation where units become immune to half the game.

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 Elbows wrote:
Hmmm, I actually 100% disagree with you there. If anything, terrain which requires a mix of units and can safeguard units from other threats is actually perfect and makes the game far more interesting.

There are some rules gap from GW on this, but if anything there is not nearly enough adverse terrain that requires a flexible army.

I'm speaking from a proper wargame stance and not a tournament stance. If you're attending tournaments that's a conscious decision you've taken to play a very narrow slice of the game - so I don't really care about complaints regarding tournament competitiveness of armies/units.
Terrains should provide advantages, not immunities.
   
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the_scotsman wrote:
Another thing to bear in mind here:

The game explicitly gives players permission to "house-rule" all terrain structures as they see fit, and gives everything in the current book as examples, even going so far as to mention bases on ruins as a feature that "might" exist.

All typical rules that people associate with terrain in 8th, even if you go strictly and only "by the book" are house rules, because at the end of the day players do have to agree what is actually representing what (I'm sure someone will Um Ackshually here to say they have a whole table built up to be perfectly RAW with only the exact terrain pieces shown in the BRB alongside the terrain rules.)


I happen to like house rules for terrain too. They usually force the players to actually discuss how everything works before the game and allows many terrain pieces to have special rules that fit them.

For me in Kill Team, I like the house rule that high ground (2.5" above the target) is automatically in cover as most games don't really make spending vertical movement worthwhile. Movement down less than 6" uses no movement unless the terrain piece is a wall or similar that doesn't allow a model to be placed on it in which movement must be spent going up and down. I have these little resin craters that allows a model standing on them to be considered in cover (this is the one house rule that usually catches people for some reason). Sometimes the steel 55 gal drums are destructible terrain that can be shot with flat BS or rolling a 6 my a model using it for cover. The exploded barrel does 0-2 Mortal Wounds to any unit within 1-3". It isn't used much as it too much of risk to take cover by them or oddly waste time shooting at them. My deathworld forest terrain has the house rules of blocking LoS if shooting through 2 pieces. Additionally, units can freely pass through these terrain pieces but they automatically take a mortal wound (I don't like this rule, but haven't though of something better).

The only bit of functionality I want is for the terrain to be easy enough to manipulate my units without constantly disturbing/breaking it. Otherwise, load the table up with terrain to make it look as much like a place that could exist.

   
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The way rules operate, most terrain should have visible edges to see if unit is wholly within or within of it to claim the benefit of cover. Which is why most of terrain made doesn't affect the battle aside from a bunch of GW ruins which provide both cover and elevation and this is why people like to stick their units into them. The terrain should be functional first. Also there's something to be learned about positioning terrain I think from say maps in computer games, with first thing that it should be symmetrical for both sides. At the same time, I don't want to play on the table with 6 L-shaped pieces of hurr competetive cardboard.
   
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Symmetrical boards is one that i loathe and indeed 40k is designed with asymmetric set up as evident by scenario rules

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Lots of good advice here, another thing to consider is base size, already mentioned with respect to Knights and so on.

If you are doing stepped hills, multi-level ruins or walkways, have a think about what size it needs to be to allow models with large bases to traverse it. GW is on a base size inflation craze at the moment, so it is a good idea to think about that sort of thing before starting and plan out some standard sizes. I think having things fairly consistent will really help with playability.

I also think standardised heights make sense and look good in 40K. The general standard is 3" for a single story of a building. This is pretty generous by the standards of real buildings, but makes moving miniatures and fitting larger miniatures inside them.

Also, I would argue in favour of battlemats and modular terrain. I build all my stuff to be modular for maximum usability and portability. I think those boards shown by nou are beautiful, but I am definitely more on the side of maximising usability over aesthetics. I think you can make modular stuff on a battlemat look really nice with some thought and planning.

   
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nou wrote:
By sculpted ground level I mean modular boards, something like this



I absolutely love this one. How did you build it?

Also, how the hell do you play a horde army on it?
   
 
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