I was looking at the Micro Art Studios Infinity bases the other day. I’d seen them on the net before and was pleased to see that they looked even nicer in person (so to speak). Several of them have bits of smashed up Infinity models embedded in them, which allows you to tailor your bases to show you crushing your regular opponent’s forces. Just copy their paint scheme on the wrecks 🙂
The bases set me thinking again about how dowdy most battlefields look in terrain terms. Compared to the highly detailed and lovingly made bases we can now easily buy, most of our* terrain is simplified and characterless, generic and drab. Games are often fought over unpainted boxes or poorly thought out, randomly assembled clutters of AT43 containers, random fuel drums and crates. Of course, many of these things could be on a battlefield, it’s just unlikely that they would be the only thing you’d ever see. We can do better.
High quality detailed terrain is, of course, no easier to make than miniatures, but almost everyone seems to shy away from even trying. This is understandable in a way, but only to a point. After all, isn’t the point of playing with miniatures rather than card counters so that we can see our battles in glorious 3D? Terrain should be a central part of a game, but most gamers I know (myself included) are reluctant to spend the time, money or effort in making their tabletop anywhere near the standard they aim for in their miniatures. If you marked tabletops out of 10 as people mentally seem to do with models, they would lag several points behind. All of which seems to me to drag the whole experience down to well below where it could and should be.
Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to be able to game over some incredibly nice tables, and so I know from experience what it can add. Is it just that most people haven’t ever done it, so they don’t know what they’re missing? Is it the expense? The effort? The lack of guidance? What do you think?
*by “our” I mean most gamers, including me. Having been to many conventions, gaming clubs, tournaments and other events, I’ve got a fairly good idea of the average level of painting and terrain, and neither of them are very high. I think this is a great shame.