Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mountain Pass

In addition to getting Getting a whole lot of Feudal Japanese painted, I’ve also taken the upcoming 10th Annual Wargaming Birthday Bash/Winter Wargaming Weekend (less than one week away!!) as an opportunity to make some new terrain. Years ago I started building myself a set of modular terrain tiles. I’ve added a few over the years, but eventually decided I should start afresh.

So I’m going to be making some new tiles – some of them will be ~1’x1’ (30cmx30cm, actually), some will be ~2’x2’ (60cmx60cm), but first I decided to start with some big ‘uns - ~3’x3’ (90cmx90cm). Where possible these will be made to match up with the other modular tiles (roads and rivers will exit at the center of 30cm segments. But they’re really meant to be dedicated “battle boards” for small skirmish games like Ronin – Skirmish Wargames in the Age of the Samurai, which we are playing this weekend, but also for A Song of Blades and Heroes, which I have recently picked up and been obsessing over and has been distracting me from getting in a few more practice games of Ronin!!

But this first one… probably won’t match up with the others so well…


(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version):

First up we have a few early process pictures. Not that early, I guess… I’ve already built the frame and cut all the polystyrene and covered it all in a coat of goop… There’s some pictures of that action here:

Same thing, different angle.

Brown earthy stuff and paths to the pass laid out and graveled and painted…

First coats of green and brown (after gluing down the sawdust that makes the grass texture)

And finally, the finished pass (and the messy, messy hobby table in the background!)! Well, not quite finished – I did another lighter pass of green to highlight the grass a bit more... you’ll see it in the game reports!)

“You shall not pass!” Some monks to give you a sense of the scale.

Again with the Monks and the scale of things.

I only had wee small trees left… which look a little funny… but I figured way up in a mountain pass they’re not going to grow all that big anyway, right?

As for scenarios that could be used on this battle board, I figured the standard “Skirmish” and “Capture” scenarios would work… or even the “Duel”? But I was thinking it might be fun to come up with a scenario or two that would be specific to each of the new battle boards.

Defend the Pass

Both sides have equal sized forces. Attacker starts in one corner, the Defender can set up anywhere from the opposite corner to the height of the pass. The attackers objective would be to exit their force off the opposite corner (any of the board edge that is green). The defenders obviously have to prevent this. I ws thinking the attackers might get 5 VP if they can get half their force off the table by the game end. The defenders would get 5VP if they prevent ANY attackers from getting off the far end of the table.

Ambushed in the Pass

The Defender selects a force of up to 100 points, the Attacker selects a force of up to 150 points. The defender starts within 6” of the center of the table. The Attacker sets up their forces in any of the green areas on either side of the pass. The Attacker has to kill the enemy force (or a specific model? The leader?). The Defender has to survive and exit their force off either corner of the table (any edge that is green). Defender gets 5 VP if they can get 50% (75%?) of their force off the table (or the specific model?). Attacker gets 5 VP if they prevent any of the force from exiting (or for killing the specific model).

I’m not to sure about the specifics of that one just yet. Perhaps the specific model could be a VIP non-combatant? Ideas? Anyone?

One of the interesting things about this board is though it looks quite open, because of the height of the pass, forces starting in opposite corners will not be able to see each other until they climb to the height of the pass. Anyone commanding those heights will be able to rain deadly fire down on those still moving up!

I need to get three or four more battle boards done for Friday - the rest won't be nearly so epic as the mountain pass - and hopefully won't take quite so long! 

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

Games reports of more Song of Blades and Heroes game and more terrain (the River Ford!) 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Ray!

      It's a lot of work building stuff like that, but I'm pretty darn happy with it myself and the deep sense of accomplishment at pulling off something like this makes it all kind of worth while...

      Four more to go...

  2. Looks great mate! I've been watching this with interest.

    I don't think the lack of trees is an issue, like you say there would not be that many at the head of the pass. If I were you I'd make some rocky patches though as there would be plenty of detritus somewhere like this. It will also give you something to move around and add a little variety over time...

    1. Cheers!

      Yeah, normally I would have put some small pebbles and crushed rock around the base of the rock walls and scattered about here and there. Unfortunately my source for said small pebbles and crushed rock is currently frozen under a couple feet of snow and ice... I will have to fix that up in the spring!

  3. That is an awesome piece of real estate for your game table. You are very talented!

    1. Thanks! I'm starting to wonder where exactly I'm going to STORE it when I don't want to fight a battle on a mountain pass. The others will be more or less flat and can be leaned up against each other along the wall... this one... not so much...

  4. Very nice. You finished that fairly quickly.

  5. Lovely work! What are your dimensions there, Tim? Is that a four foot by four foot board? I'd like to make something similar but with cliffs along two sides instead of just two corners. Is there a reason you selected the corners layout?

    1. Thanks Andrew!

      It's approximately 3'x3' (actually 90cmx90cm).

      I guess I did corners as it made for a slightly wider pass on such a small board. The distance from corner to corner is also greater - if a player had to start in one corner and exit off another it could mean a bit longer scenario. Also the centre of all four sides is a deployable area so it could be used for more than two player games - where each deploys in the centre of a board edge...? Or maybe it just seemed like a good idea at the time...?

      I had, at one point, thought of doing a series of boards (maybe 2'x2') with cliffs on either side that could be put together to make a continuous canyon... might still someday...