Wednesday, May 30, 2018

On, In, Through: A Theory of Terrain Design for Wargames

This dense jungle terrain channels figures between each piece, but they can't enter or cross them.

I finished my jungle terrain pieces a few weeks ago and brought them to the game shop for our Monday night wargame. One of our group stopped to inspect them.

"They look cool, but you can't really do anything with them."

I was initially confused. You could do lots with my jungle terrain! Move figures around them! Hide behind them! Why, the possibilities were... two. There were just two ways figures could interact with my new jungle terrain.

I was still happy with the look of those jungle pieces, and they've served well to fill out our jungle themed Caribbean games, but I did go through quite a bit of thinking on terrain and came to some conclusions about what makes wargame terrain functional and fun to play on. First, let's check out why some terrain is problematic.