Miniature Mondays: does size matter?

More thoughts on terrain boards today.

If you’d asked me last week, what size are OSS boards, I’d have happily told you that they were 2×2 foot square. Now, I think I’ve changed my mind.

The reason is simple. Whilst the 2×2 boards work very well for the scenarios I’d tried out before during early playtests, when I did a rough set of new scenarios there were some that found it too confining. Now I really like the slightly cramped battlefields for a number of game play reasons, so I want to keep that. However, it was impinging on my ability to tell stories, and as that’s one of the core ideas of OSS it had to be changed.

So, having spent some hours blocking things out and pushing models about on several other sizes and shapes of boards, I’ve settled on 2×4 feet as a standard size. This allows me to play either across or down the board, and that flexibility gives me a lot more options when it comes to scenario set ups.

A little of the doodling, showing a couple of the simple scenario layouts I was playing with.

OSS terrain boardsOn the left is an idea based on what happened to Varus’ unfortunate legions (ambush with raised ground to ambush from, and marsh to push folk into). On the right is a Plaza a bit like this one:

Plaza 07

The arrows show the direction of attack.

This sort of sketching out, plus a lot of pushing things about on the actual size boards, are how I work these things out. Nothing too high tech 🙂

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14 Responses to Miniature Mondays: does size matter?

  1. Andrew Nolte says:

    Why not use both board sizes depending on the scenario?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Because that would mean making two boards instead of one. You could do that if you didn’t mind the extra work.

      Of course, if you have a 2×4 board, you can still play 2×2 games on it 🙂

  2. Teemu Hemminki says:

    Well, as long as it fits on average kitchen table it is good enough.

    • The average kitchen table (at least in my country) seems to be 5′ x 3′. 4′ x 2′ would therefore be an excellent size as you can fit your drinks on the table as well 🙂

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Yup. 2×4 is a fairly practical size as most people can find that much space to play on somewhere. And like Robert says, a bit of room round the edges of a typical table is convenient for QR sheets, stat cards, rosters as well as snacks.

  3. I measured mine so I’m set.

  4. wachinayn says:

    I love the fact that your sci-fi plaza is 5 minutos walking from my home. 😉 Makes me want to go there and so some shooting.

  5. I like that. 2’x4′ means, to me, eight pieces of modular terrain. That’s enough to represent a “large, seedy tavern” or “bustling marketplace” ripe for a showdown, but means that making several such terrain boards isn’t beyond someone’s reasonable resources (or storage space.)

    It’s large enough that players can develop “safe areas” which are outside of enemy firearms range, in which leaders or support people (or the wounded) can gather, which allows for interesting maneuver puzzles. It’s also not so large that one can’t move quickly and decisively across it, or that long-range weapons end up dominating.

    • I’ve been putting a bit of work into repurposing Mordhiem and Hirst Arts scenery for Frostgrave and 250mm square tiles are working out to be far more practical from a building and storage perspective. 300mm tiles are just too big for storage boxes and shelves.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I’ve gone off modular terrain boards myself. The flexibility is great, but the chasms between sections always always detracts from the overall appearance. One nice thing about this small size is that I can have a single piece board for the whole area, and then put stuff on top. Making a sit-on terrain piece blend in is easier than hiding the chasms, especially with hard-edged things like raised beds and benches (as we’ll have in the Plaza) 🙂

      • That’s interesting. The chasms aren’t such a big eyesore for me (although they may be now that you’ve pointed it out :p ) What I find good about modular boards is that they allow you to vary the height of the “ground level” more effectively than when using sit-on terrain, and that’s aesthetically important to me. Whenever I get reminded that I’m playing on a flat surface then it breaks the illusion and reminds me that these are just toy soldiers on a dining-room table.

        It’s a choice of which thing you find most jarring, I suppose.

        A single fixed board like you’re making would of course be the perfect solution for this, because it allows total creativity when it comes to height. The cost is flexibility, but even that lack of flexibility can create a narrative familiarity which is quite fun.

        “Okay, lads, this will be the sixth battle of Bloody Angle. This time, remember what happened in the other five. Stay away from that gap by the oak tree, and hunker down when we cross Mrs Higgins’s garden. We can do it this time.”

      • I have a life time supply of Hirst Arts plaster bricks to use up, and modular sections seem to be working better than scatter terrain.

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