Didn’t we conquer this last week?

I didn’t get a game last night, seeing as I had forgotten to arrange one and naively thought there would be an opponent available. Instead Jonesy and I got asked to set up terrain for a game, and we took one look at each other and decided on doing something a little different.

The first fifteen minutes the players were bitching like crazy about the @£$#¤% up setup. Then they began seeing possibilities instead of limitations, and then they really got into it. After the game Paul admitted that it was pretty darn fun, playing on a table that brought ‘something different’ to the game.

That got me thinking back, because the very best games I’ve had, have been on non-standard tables. I fondly remember a game between Scaverous and Karchev, set in a ruined city with houses everywhere, forming long and narrow streets. In that game Karchev had the durability he’s supposed to have, because I could never draw LoS for charges, and his mechanics kept him in working condition while he battled his way towards the objectives.

I had the real Cryxian feel as well, with Bane Knights coming through the walls, and Ghost Raiders appearing from ruined buildings to snag his mechanics, carrying them screaming to their deaths. It was a thing of beauty, and much more interesting than two lines running at each other.

I’m well aware of the inherent issues with ‘interesting terrain setups’, and that it favors specific factions and builds, but it also allows some of the more unique rules and abilities to enter play for once. When was the last time ‘amphibious’ came into play unless you were facing Bloody Barnabas, and has anyone ever actually used treewalker to walk through a wall/building in a forest?

I can’t remember the last time I looked at table and did anything except catalog the different types of defenses or hindrances, and that’s really sad when you think about it. Terrain should help create a story for the game, and not just be a bunch of available bonuses or problems. I’ve learned my lesson and won’t pledge or promise anything, but I’m going to try and make the tables I play on a little more interesting from now on, even if that breaks the rules about terrain proximity and setups.

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5 Responses »

  1. The other table was also quite interesting. Pretty heavy on terrain, in a almost annoying symmetrical way :-) I helped jonesy a bit come up with some of it :-) weather or not Hjelmen and kris enjoyed it, I don’t know :-) the table on the pictures does look interesting though, and I think it would be fun trying out something similar :-)

  2. Totally agree on interesting terrain can make games more interesting. I think it’s important to let players know you plan on using more/different terrain than usual (even if nothing more is said), especially if the terrain will break the rules about proximity/set up.

    That’s a (partial) way of addressing the issue of particular builds/set up. For example, I wouldn’t run a Searforge list if I were warned that terrain would be atypical – the near total absence of pathfinder (except for Ossrum’s feat and Brun/Lug) combined with the slow speed of rhulic models could make unusual terrain very unpleasant. That’s probably an extreme example, but even a vague warning would be enough – I’d go for a standard merc contract instead, albeit probably with a rhulic caster.

  3. Here in my location the players often tend to put “tournament-level” terrain on the table: 2 hills, 2 forests and 2 linear obstacles. Sometimes maybe one rock or a house, but that’s it.

    For me this is somewhat boring, as I really enjoy playing on tables with story-telling terrain.

    So thumps up for your article.

  4. I agree completley with Lamoron on this. ( a feeling that is new and interesting.. agreeing with someone…)

    More interesting terrain makes for more interesting games. as soon as theres water on the table it becomes a game in itself to actually knock over a jack thats standing in the water. shooting solos sneaking around corners etc etc.

    /K

  5. “Das Nam” seemed like a good table to play on .. it was different but there was room to maneuver, just not line against line = meet in the middle :)

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