Let’s talk about terrain!
As we have seen in the 9th edition of Warhammer 40,000, Games workshop have started to take terrain seriously. They have added keywords for terrain and more clearly indicated the rules that it will have and how armies will interact with them. This was and is really needed, in 40k Age of Sigmar or all board games because we play in an environment and we assume the models we are using are at least affected by physics and the landscape around them. While being a huge proponent of the physical landscape being considered and thought about for matched play and organised event games we would also like to see a development of the narrative board environment even in a matched play setting.
We’ve started out strong there so lets break down some of these key ideas!
The board is alive. It’s a place, in a setting, made of materials that come from that setting and is affected by the physics of that place. We sometimes overlook the freeze frame nature of wargames. Yes our miniatures maybe stood still but they are in our minds eye moving in the hustle and bustle of battle. So when we see a human scale the side of a building 3 times its size and say he is perched there for a turn it can quite rightly take us out of that immersion that wargaming can and should offer as a world. So how the models interact with the scenery is very important, this over years has taken many different forms and has been approached in many different ways and yet you can see why game designers want to avoid over complicating it. If every board I approach to play on has vastly different effects for my army, that’s more I have to learn and take into account to win the battle laid out before me.
Lets also take into account equity and parity of games in a tournament setting. Chess, league of legends, Magic as well as loads of other games usually happen in and on the same “board”. This means when you get hundreds of results you can start to form some stats and an idea of the game as it exists mechanically. As tabletop gaming is so abstract and also so random due to varying boards this is harder to nail down the skill of the victories we may have recorded.
The board is also not a board; it is an alive setting in a huge expansive narrative which we all engage with even if in the smallest way. In tournaments this is sorely lacking and is very hard to achieve with how many people need to be involved in creating that environment. It’s something that certainly informs the games we play and would like it to also be alive in tabletop coverage going forward. Coverage is best with as many drama and story points as possible. Players, armies, the meta game and of course the actual story. So creating a setting is very important to us.
All this has been an ongoing conversation for over a year. So a Living Battlefield team was formed. It consists of designers, painters and even movie wizards who are aiming to deliver the best tabletop board space to play games competitively AND narratively. Our eventual goal is to make as many hobbyists as possible happy with hitting all the key notes of what makes a game exciting due to the board. Over the years and continual Super Series i’m sure we will learn alot and will hope to push this field as far as we can in our format.
Updates will be coming soon so keep your eyes out and we would love to see your images of boards, terrain and battlefields to steal ideas from haha!
Have a great day!
The tSN Team