My blog about my wargaming activities. I collect a lot of 15mm miniatures for the American War of Independence and so collect a lot of rules for this period. I started miniatures with Napoleonics, so I have a number of armies in 6mm and 15mm figures for skirmishing. I have15mm WW II figures that I use for Flames of War, Memoir '44, and someday, Poor Bloody Infantry. Finally there is my on-again, off-again relationship with paper soldiers that I sometimes write about.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Barks' Gameboard - Wow!

Every so often I go through the list of people following this blog and see what blogs they have and follow. There are some really good blogs out there. In fact, most of the blogs I follow come from that list of readers' blogs or blogs they follow.

I looked at Barks profile and found his Wargaming with Barks blog and was immediately struck by the appearance of his gameboard. (By the way, Barks has an interesting series of articles on painting the Battlefront river terrain pieces, making them look even better. You should check them out, especially if you have those terrain pieces.)

Back to the gameboard. It really has a good look to it. So I started searching for an article to see how he made it. I was shocked to learn that it was a Citadel (GW) Realm of Battle Gameboard, which I had never heard of. Barks' article on how he did his gameboard is really interesting. Even though Citadel's gameboard is $300, for what essentially looks like a 6' by 4' injection molded plastic model, it looks very tempting, especially when you see the results Barks obtained.

Which brings me to my point. We tend to spend quite a bit of money and time on our figures, and even to some extent on basing those figures, but it is the rare person that spends that time and money on really good terrain. In the end, is $300 really that expensive for the 'ground covering' of a 6' x 4' table? (You can extend the table size by getting two 2' x 2' squares for an additional $100.) Granted, you still need to get woods, buildings, rivers, and roads, plus some extra hills might be nice.

This also hearkens me back to an old What Would Patton Do (WWPD) podcast with Shawn Morris (The Terrain Guy) where they discussed the idea of gaming on static gameboards. (By the way, the Realm of Battle Gameboard is not exactly static. As shown on the web page, it can be rearranged a number of ways to add some variety.) Although Shawn made a compelling argument about using static gameboards, other than Jon Baber's Arnhem gameboard, it does not sound like the WWPD really took to the idea, in the long run.

I've seen a number of your blogs, and battle reports for those that do them, and I see most people do it like I do. Lay down a game cloth or mat (I have an old US Army blanket, some grass green micro-fleeces from Wal-Mart, and a Citadel Game Mat that I switch between), plop some terrain down, and then game. The conclusion is that terrain variety seems to be more important than, say, a cohesive set of terrain pieces that actually look like they go together. (That is more a comment on my terrain, dear readers, and not on yours! In my AWI games you can unfortunately see tank tread marks in the muddy roads!)

So, is that true? Do you favor terrain configurations and variety over a cohesive, but static or semi-static vision? Has anyone every played a fair number of games over the same terrain, but with different scenarios, goals, and objectives? Can you shed any light on what it is really like?


  1. For ancients, my terrain is crap. But for my ww2 stuff, it is all about the visual experience for me and I have gradually been building up terrain as I build up the forces, although is has been very gradual over the last 30 years, and still only average. For instance, I only replaced by cutout roads with some decent molded plastic ones in January. When I acquired some 6mm stuff, one reason I have been playing on 2'x2' boards is so I do not have to spend lots of energy on terrain. Despite what I have written, I am like you - I spent far more time, energy and money on the models than on the terrain.

    I am also interested on what it is like to replay on the same table.

  2. Hey Dale, thanks for the mention!

    I have no regrets about my gameboard, except that I don't have enough time to use it to the full!

    There are only two reasons for a permanent setup: you can achieve fantastic, realistic, model railway-esque scenery, and you can do this for historical, real-world places.

    This pales against the versatility (and transportability) of a variety of terrain pieces.

    I have to say I shake my head sometimes when I see beautifully converted, lovingly painted figures playing on a bare table with a few lacklustre incoherent pieces of scenery. Do your games a favour and spend time on terrain as well as armies!

  3. I could have sworn that I commented on this. But Barks' site is worth it for the tips for flocking the game board alone. Thanks for brining it to my attention.


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Huachuca City, Arizona, United States
I am 58 yrs old now. I bought a house in Huachuca City, AZ working for a software company for the last three years. To while away the hours I like to wargame -- with wooden, lead, and sometimes paper miniatures -- usually solo. Although I am a 'rules junkie', I almost always use rules of my own (I like to build upon others' ideas, but it seems like there is always something "missing" or "wrong").