The BoLS Open terrain team has been hard at work designing and constructing terrain. In this behind the scenes look, 40k terrain lead Abe Apfel walks us through the design process of our most dense table: the urban table.
Table Design Philosophy
In many cases, tournament terrain ends up playing a minor role in the actual games. This is often caused by having too little terrain or older terrain that does not properly block line of sight. In more rare situations, extremely heavy terrain can play a deciding factor in a game. However, since this is a fairly rare occurrence, it’s more likely to annoy players than challenge them. This is especially true if players are unaware of high-density terrain beforehand.
To combat this, some events have gone to a hyper standardized terrain set. In these systems, all tables share a standardized and identical (allowing for some minor variation in the specific terrain pieces used) layout. While this removes the random nature of the terrain, it also removes a large part of the challenge. Because all tables are the same, players can tailor lists and tactics to the set up without any issue. Also, it presents a more boring event with a lack of interesting variation. The hyper standardization goes a long way to removing terrain as a major factor in games. Any challenge terrain might present is gone.
It is our goal to deal with these issues by presenting both a semi-regular terrain set up so that players will not be surprised, but also a diverse layout. To offer both a regular and different set of terrain layouts, we look at a tables terrain as laying along two axes: low-to-high cover and low-to-high LOS blocking. By taking the extremes of these, we can build four standardized sets of tables:
- High cover and high LOS blocking
- Low cover and high LOS blocking
- High cover and low LOS blocking
- Low cover and low LOS blocking
By breaking the tables into four types, we have the best of both worlds. We gain a large amount of diversity, ensuring players won’t be forced to play on the same layout over and over again. We also make sure that no one type of list will do well on every table.
The goal is to reward a more balanced list and challenge players with a variety of meaningful terrain. At the same time, by having four standardized types, players are aware of the terrain before the event. Players should come into the event knowing they will have to deal with varied terrain and will likely play on tables that will not favor their list if they hyperfocus it. With this, we hope to make the terrain a meaningful part of the game, while presenting a unique challenge to players
The Urban Dense Table Prototype
The Urban Dense Table is our high cover and high LOS blocking table. The table is designed to give players lots of places to hide units and provide considerably fewer avenues for long-range shooting than most other tables. It also provides infantry many places where they can dig in and be in cover. The highlight of the table is the five large buildings designed to obstruct LOS. These buildings are tall enough that even a large Knight can hide behind them. Using them, a player should be able to place the majority (if not all) of their army out of sight of the enemy.
The center of the table is dominated by our largest building, a massive building that blocks LOS. However, a large alley that leads through the building does allow for interesting sideways shots. This ally is large enough to move an army, or a full knight through, and provides for access to a center placed objective. The four ruined buildings provide for ground-level firebases. For these, we are not using the rules for ruins, but rather the more dangerous battle-scapes. This helps us bring a more diverse range of terrain to the game and makes for a more dynamic table. Overall the table will reward players who can take advantage of it, either using the building for cover or though the vertical movement to gain the high ground.
Urban Dense Test Game – See the Lists Here
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