Monday 30 May 2011

Overthrowing The Fascism of Tabletop Terrain

I have declared war on the fascism of tabletop terrain. Yes the glossy mags with their "look what you can have" Cosmo wargaming terrain that's more of a lifestyle than a hobby - moved the hobby forward. But it's created a fascism that divides us into the terrain haves and have nots.

Yeah, I could have that beautifully sculpted terrain but I'm joe average wargamer. My dining table remains my dining table at the end of the day.I have a finite about of space, time and patience - more so the latter. Plus, I have gaming interests in a range of periods from Sci Fi to Ancients across a variety of scales. Even when I focus that jackdaw mind of mind see's something new and shiny and off I go in a different direction.

So I have come to a compromise to rid myself of this (to some extent self imposed) hobby fascism. Terrain is not there to be fought over - it should be part of the visual appeal of a game, yes, but it should also be a functional part of the game mechanics and scenario.

Why fill my table with walls and hedges when I only need a suggestion. The terrain should be directly relevant only where it impinges or aids movement or fire. Living in the country you often find abandoned and sunken  stone walls that could act as cover or hold up movement over here, but over there you can simply step across it and it provides no shelter at all from incoming fire.

So my new mantra. I can have a piece of terrain that suggest a broken down wall on a windswept heath, a ridge line or whatever, but I don't need to recreate the whole sodding wall running across the table. This has freed me in a staggering way and not just for Winter of '79.


1 comment:

  1. I could not agree more, Mark ;)
    It can be very demoralising and off-putting to behold the entire Eastern Front reproduced in the leading magazines.Like you, I live in the real world and try to use (make) stuff that is generic in design.