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davepaulstanley

Custom battle table versus roll out game mat

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I'm trying to decide if I should begin fabricating a custom table similar to the ones ffg had at gen con or if I should go the game mat route and just fabricate some individual terrain pieces to place on top of the mat.  The pros, cons of each, as I see it, are:

Custom table:

Pros: Better overall look, fun to build, cool factor is high, varied levels hills and cliffs 

Cons:  storage is terrible, time commitment, expense, trial and error to make it right, casting dice on it feels harder and 'clanky'

 

Game mat with modular terrain:

Pros: easy to store, fairly reasonable price,  easy to transport, casting dice feels great on the softer surface

Cons: not as cool, flat play surface, can be expensive too, no enjoyment in making it

 

THOUGHTS?!

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I'm sot sure what you are asking for but your oservation seems spot on, but I personally never had problems rollong dice on custom tables and it never felt ahrd and clanky for me. One more thing would be if you make a custom table with built in terrain (hills and so on) it will alwasy look the "same", with a  mat you can change things but the some terrain like a river for example don't look that good if they are a terrain piece you put on the table. And you can make more interesting and fancy tables if you build them yourself, like trench warfare tables or something like this.

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5 minutes ago, davepaulstanley said:

THOUGHTS?!

Where will you be playing the most, home or the LGS?  Also how do you feel about donating the board to the LGS?

If you're only or mostly playing at home, I'd recommend a custom table, but I'd do it in 1x1 foot sections so you can change things around.  A bit more work but if storage and transport aren't big issues well worth it.  If you wanted to make one and were willing to donate it to the LGS that's another option.

If you do make one, I'd consider making the table 4x6 so you have a 6" strip on either side for cards, models, and such.  Could also put some sort of dice box off to the side or make a dice tower even.  I made a couple dice towers out of foamcore for my bloodbowl league that worked really well, and it cost me like $5 to make 4 of them.

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Right. Or the phenomenal d day table that the terrain tutor built that is on YouTube. It is a long table cut in sections that can be swapped around to create a new layout. This d day board is also one of my biggest inspirations to consider building a custom table. 

 

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I'm an old school wargamer, so it's always been custom board all the way for me.

However, having watch many battle reports on the likes of miniwargaming.com, I've come to realise that you can have great looking tables with matts and terrain pieces. 

Im hoping FFG produce some. 

I'll be here making terrain pieces in anticipation!

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Go Modular.

The game makers include those fancy tables as part of their marketing budget because they look gorgeous and make for quality photo dioramas to help sell the product.

In play you want something more flexible, that can still look good, but allow for more then just one or two setups.

If you don't like playmats, a good middle ground is to make tiles. Go get pink (or blue) insulation foam and cut it into squares/rectangles of your choice. Make up each one with matching terrain and then put them together to make your table. If you opt for thicker foam for your base tiles you can even make tiles where you dig into them to make trench lines, craters, fox holes, or what have you. 

A lot of games use 4x4 or 4x6 tables making 2x2 tiles pretty standard. If you're going to be going strictly Legion then 1.5x1.5 would do as well. 1x1 is also an option though you may find it a bit small making the final product a little easy to knock around by accident.

But a tile system would allow you to have some terrain about as pretty as the custom tables, but still provide flexibility, portability, and storability.

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If you got the space for it, AND feel dedicated enough to build a table featuring only one kind of terrain (desert, winter, mud etc) then I would absolutely recommend a full table. Its an amazing sight when terrain and table mix together so well! Really enhances the experience.

Roll out mats are very practical, gives a nice surface to roll dice on and can double as a mat for cardgames, boardgames and so on but even in all their glory they cannot compete with a real textured terrain table.

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I would not do any built in terrain like rivers or trenches.  it gets borning eventually and then you have spent all this time on this awesome terrain that you wont really enjoy anymore.  Atleast that is what I found.  A modular table as people have said with a Tile system (12x12) is a good start.  Terrain just put on 1/2" mdf and bevell sand the edges.

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in my experience using the battle tables, theyre annoying. Slopes make the terrain awesome but good god do they make moving annoying. Tall models tip over, thin-based models cant stand up on rubbled ground, and its bulky.
More than likely i'll do the same thing i do for 40k: multiple tiers of polystyrene foam terrain that stack on each other for "hills" so its flat surfaces and easily distinguishable heights.

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One thing most folks don't consider is placing objects under a mat to change the topography. Granted rubber mats with smooth tops will likely be too slick on the hills to hold miniatures but I could see a painted fur Matt doing the trick.

Edited by TylerTT

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When money, time, transport and storage are not the problems, go for a custom table! I've built lots of custom tables in the past 20 years and it was always fun to do so and to play on them.

But keep in mind: Playability > Looks

The best looking table often is the worst to play on. I've done it all: Towers to high for figures to climb up per the rules, hills to low to count as elevated terrain by the rules. Rivers that couldn't be crossed except by flyers ... I would strongly recommend to wait for the rules to come out, before you start building a table.

Rolling dice destroys the surface.

After two or three games, you will know exactly all ranges (e.g. from hill to bunker), the perfect positions for your Troops ... the more detail you add to the table, the faster it becomes boring to play on.

The more generic and modular the table, the worse the looks, but the better the playability.

Edited by DerBaer

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Homemade gaming mat all the way... http://finiatures.blogspot.de/2017/08/one-day-build-jedha-gaming-mat.html

We used to play on proper gaming tables back in the LotR days. Fun to build, fun to play on but not very flexible. In the worst case we built a 4'-6' Moria table just to find out we didn't like the scenarios played on this map. The table had plaster rock-walls and couldn't be moved... We trashed it and went back to the drawing board.

Also, storage is key if you have kids. The times that Helms Deep could sit on the dinner table for weeks are long gone...

Edited by JohnnyTrash

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On 8/24/2017 at 4:51 AM, DerBaer said:

I would strongly recommend to wait for the rules to come out, before you start building a table.

 

I just remembered that the main Legion page on FFG's website says the rules are coming soon.  To make an even finer point to your point, due to the early release of the rules, we won't have to wait for the game to actually be released in order to get a good idea of how to go about designing a custom table!

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I wished I still had all my terrain pieces from Heroscape which was over 12 core sets worth. With its trees, water tiles, grass, plains tiles, it would of been easy to create a battlefield. Then when tired of it, rip it apart to create a new setting.  Heroscape also had lava and snow tiles and ruin pieces to hide behind.

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