Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Terrain Placement in 6th

"The Tools of Our Salvation are Faith and Bullets."

Just a quick break from the 'How 6th affected my armies' series here for a look at an alternative method for placing terrain in 6th edition that some of us in my local area have been using recently.

So there are two terrain placement methods listed in the BRB that you can use. The first is the Narrative Terrain where you and your opponent set up the terrain to a mutually agreeable manner to create a fantastic-looking and evocative battlefield.

The other method listed is the Alternating Terrain method where each 2'x2' section of the board gets d3 pieces of terrain players then alternate placing terrain until they decide to stop or the density limits are reached.

What I have found in the games that I've played thus far is that in the Narrative method we just ended up setting up a board in much the same manner as we did for 5th edition games (which in most cases we were using the NOVA Opens terrain layout.) This layout did not really seem to work as well for 6th edition with the changes to line of sight, cover saves, focus fire and what-not. In the games where we used the Alternating method we ended up with a greater amount and mix of terrain which was good, but because we already knew who was deploying where and what the mission would be, we often ended up with some very strange looking boards where players were trying to stack their deployment zones to some advantage. It just really created some pretty (in my opinion) terrible boards. Further since Fortifications are supposed to be set up before laying out the terrain we would end up in situations where one person would take a fortification and then the first piece of terrain their opponent would put on the table would be a nice piece of line of sight blocking terrain right in front of their quad-gun rendering it useless for much of the battle. Not only is this smart, but it's totally legal by the rules. It can cause for a bit of butt-hurt feelings for the person who spent 100+points on a fortification just to have it terrain blocked.

Well recently a guy named Reese and I got in a game and we decided to try something a bit different. We determined the mission and deployment types as normal. Then, without yet knowing who had what deployment zone/table half, we rolled for the terrain density of each section and set up the terrain accordingly. After all terrain was placed we then rolled for first turn and the winner picked his deployment zone. At this point if he had a fortification he then replaced one piece of terrain in his deployment zone with the fortification.

What we found is that when the players didn't know beforehand where they would be deploying they wouldn't be able to 'stack' their table half in their favor. This created a much more balanced battlefield. The funny thing is that it actually created a far more aesthetically pleasing board as well, and no one risks getting butt-hurt over having their fortification rendered useless by terrain placement. It was really a win-win in all ways.

If you've been using the alternating terrain placement method I would highly recommend giving this method a shot. I've used it in several games now and I really, really like it.

till next time....


  1. This is the way I would prefer. I really think that the choose deployment type/determine table sides first method leads to exactly what you're talking about. Would much rather do terrain first, then determine type/sides, but as of yet haven't gotten the locals on board! As is, you get the same types of boards, just angled different ways.

    1. Hopefully one of them gives it a try with you soon. I really think once you guys try it out you'll like it a lot better and soon the rest will follow.