14 August 2015

Gaming table - part 1

Hello readers,

I'm back from my (very enjoyable) family holidays, caught up on the excellent post-BOYL reports and pictures, overcome the jealousy of not being able to go this year, and ready to restart the geeking!

One of the things that leapt out from the game pictures, aside from all that lovely painted lead, was the difference to the aesthetic (and thereby a large part of my enjoyment of gaming in general) that a good set of terrain makes. Here are a few examples from various blogs that I hope the owners won't mind me sharing:

One of the Foundry's more dramatically-landscaped tables 

Erny's spiffing elf ship on an intricate Mordheim table

More Foundry tables. I think I grabbed this from an image search - thank you whoever took the picture

Orlygg's luvverly board built specially for one of the McDeath scenarios
Don't tables like that just make you want to dive straight in and get playing? They do for me! The aesthetics of the miniature battlefield is so important in firing the imagination (figure scale, paint job, distribution [regiments, skirmish, whatever], and the table itself) that I would argue it is the spectacle which draws more people into gaming than anything else. Look at this from the 3rd Edition Warhammer rulebook:

Amazing, isn't it? In fact, its appeal has remained so strong throughout the years that I understand there is interest in recreating it for next year's BOYL event! So what does it have that makes it special? For a start, variety, but mainly it is that it looks like a real landscape - roads between hedgerows, buildings that aren't all ruins, a strategically significant bridge over a deep river, trees that are a variety of heights. Compare that to the flat neon green grass mat with a couple of hills plonked on top in order to give absolute, symmetrical "fairness" in a competition. Bleurgh!

[As an aside - son #1, aged 7, just looked over my shoulder and pointed to the picture above, saying "Gosh, that's an exciting looking battle!" I rest my case.]

So, why the sudden musings upon the table part of tabletop gaming? Well, brothers and sisters, I am getting my very own gaming table. Or rather, I'm building my own gaming table and with that unexpected luxury comes the challenge of living up to the high ideals I have for a table. Actually at this point I am literally just building the table - the terrain will come later - but with careful thought ahead so that I can install my own attempt at a proper landscape like those above, or those below that I found on Google:

Wish me luck!


  1. Thanks, chaps, I think I'm going to need it...

  2. What size are you going to go with? I have often thought that a 6'x6' table with 2x2 tiles would be particularly nice, but then it may be hard for those of er... short arms to reach the middle.

    1. Oh, that would be lovely! No, my available space is much more modest, allowing me 150cm by 100cm, so 5' by 3-and-a-bit' which will be perfect for skirmishes and small battles.

  3. I'll be looking forward to seeing how this turns out. Do you have any particular ideas for features to include?

    1. A river (naturally), a bit of "rolling land" (cut some shallow cuts and use the extracted bits to make slight rises), some slightly sunken paths. I guess it will depend on the level of skill I discover I have!