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Jake the Hutt

Are you playing with enough terrain?

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One of the things I'm really enjoying about legion and this community is seeing all the great terrain people are creating for the game. But when I see photos of tables I often think they look pretty sparse. It can be hard to tell from photos, but it looks like a lot of people are playing with less than 25% of the table worth of terrain (which I believe is the recommended amount?). I suspect that many players think they have more terrain coverage than they actually do. Let me share a story with you...

 

I play a game called Infinity, which requires a large amount of terrain density. Specifically line of sight blocking and multi-level terrain. For Infinity recommended table coverage is 1/4 to 1/3. A few years ago I went to a local tournament and was kind of surprised to see how sparse the terrain was. After the event was over (which was great and well-run) i asked the coordinator about the tables, which I felt were very terrain light. He said he thought that if anything they were maybe TOO dense. So we decided to actually take measurements. We sectioned off 1/4 of a game table and placed the terrain inside that section, making sure all terrain was placed as densely as possible. It turned out that none of the 8 tables worth of terrain used in the tournament came close to filling the space, Most filled less than 1/8 of the table, and only one was significantly more. I felt pretty vindicated, but a week later after a game at my regular store I decided to do the same test with our own terrain. Turns out I was also using less than 1/4 of a table worth of terrain in my games. I was pretty surprised!

TL/DR: It's super easy to underestimate how much terrain you're using.

Also, flat terrain like low hills, swamps, puddles and rubble may count as difficult terrain, but likely won't block line of sight or provide cover. I think you really need a LOT of line of sight blocking and cover providing terrain for Legion.

Terrain is of course a matter of preference, but I think as the game matures we'll see that it's more enjoyable (and some units and rules make more sense) with a proper amount of terrain density.

Edited by Jake the Hutt

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This is completely true, and I like the idea.  

I'll say though that most players, most of the time, should plan on playing with less than 25% of the table covered.  At the FLGS, terrain is usually a common good, and there is rarely enough of it, or enough in quality.  And most (not nearly all) players work a lot harder on their forces than on terrain.  

I love a good table where the terrain is varied, fair, presents interesting tactical choices, and adds to immersion, but no way I'll build a force assuming that I'll get near 20% terrain coverage.  

As an aside, I think this is one reason (of several) that the AT-ST is outperforming the T-47 most of the time.  The AT-ST wants long unhindered LOS, and it gets it.  They can usually fire Arsenal the whole game without moving.  The T-47 wants to cover and 1:1 matchups on weaker units.  It has nowhere to hide.

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7 minutes ago, Brightguy said:

This is completely true, and I like the idea.  

I'll say though that most players, most of the time, should plan on playing with less than 25% of the table covered.  At the FLGS, terrain is usually a common good, and there is rarely enough of it, or enough in quality.  And most (not nearly all) players work a lot harder on their forces than on terrain.  

I love a good table where the terrain is varied, fair, presents interesting tactical choices, and adds to immersion, but no way I'll build a force assuming that I'll get near 20% terrain coverage.  

As an aside, I think this is one reason (of several) that the AT-ST is outperforming the T-47 most of the time.  The AT-ST wants long unhindered LOS, and it gets it.  They can usually fire Arsenal the whole game without moving.  The T-47 wants to cover and 1:1 matchups on weaker units.  It has nowhere to hide.

Yeah, I think you're totally right. One of the things that eventually became common in the Infinity community was the realization that terrain was just as important as models for the game, and that you really needed to own or have access to a table's worth. So most Infinity players do own that much terrain, or play at a game store that has lots. Both of the local game stores I play at have about three full tables of appropriate terrain, and for tournaments we often had to turn away people wanting to provide it. One of the nice side effects of this community realization was that the number of companies providing affordable terrain specifically for Infinity exploded. And since Infinity has a relatively low price point (compared to many games) most players could afford to invest in some terrain. I'm hoping that the same thing will happen with Legion. It's also somewhat less expensive than many games, and there's already a number of companies and individuals producing terrain. Legion players have also really jumped on 3D printing their own stuff and modifying old toys.

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You're spot on.  I would love to see this develop in a different direction, and I'm working to bulk up my terrain, at least for home casual games as I think it is a great addition.  But the game is new and the focus is on getting armies on the table.

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2 minutes ago, Brightguy said:

You're spot on.  I would love to see this develop in a different direction, and I'm working to bulk up my terrain, at least for home casual games as I think it is a great addition.  But the game is new and the focus is on getting armies on the table.

You're right. It'll take time.

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This is all very true, I played my first game at a FLGS a week ago where we filled 1/4 of a 6x4 table with the terrain we wanted to use, and after it was all spread out and placed- it still felt like there was too little. Probably because there was only a few LoS blocking pieces... We agreed that we would add a lot more next time.

The thing I feel, is that because this game isnt quite the scale of 40k, it's more of a large skirmish game than army vs army (at least at the standard of 800 points), so you dont need as much room for your models like you do in 40k or other war-games. This really allows for the use of more terrain in games and Im sure we'll start to see more and more terrain companies make pieces for this game. 

21 minutes ago, Jake the Hutt said:

 I'm hoping that the same thing will happen with Legion. It's also somewhat less expensive than many games, and there's already a number of companies and individuals producing terrain. Legion players have also really jumped on 3D printing their own stuff and modifying old toys.

Haha I've been digging through all my old star wars toys lately to find stuff that will work as terrain or just scatter- have found quite a bit and it really adds to the immersion 

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3 hours ago, Jake the Hutt said:

One of the things I'm really enjoying about legion and this community is seeing all the great terrain people are creating for the game. But when I see photos of tables I often think they look pretty sparse. It can be hard to tell from photos, but it looks like a lot of people are playing with less than 25% of the table worth of terrain (which I believe is the recommended amount?). I suspect that many players think they have more terrain coverage than they actually do. Let me share a story with you...

 

I play a game called Infinity, which requires a large amount of terrain density. Specifically line of sight blocking and multi-level terrain. For Infinity recommended table coverage is 1/4 to 1/3. A few years ago I went to a local tournament and was kind of surprised to see how sparse the terrain was. After the event was over (which was great and well-run) i asked the coordinator about the tables, which I felt were very terrain light. He said he thought that if anything they were maybe TOO dense. So we decided to actually take measurements. We sectioned off 1/4 of a game table and placed the terrain inside that section, making sure all terrain was placed as densely as possible. It turned out that none of the 8 tables worth of terrain used in the tournament came close to filling the space, Most filled less than 1/8 of the table, and only one was significantly more. I felt pretty vindicated, but a week later after a game at my regular store I decided to do the same test with our own terrain. Turns out I was also using less than 1/4 of a table worth of terrain in my games. I was pretty surprised!

TL/DR: It's super easy to underestimate how much terrain you're using.

Also, flat terrain like low hills, swamps, puddles and rubble may count as difficult terrain, but likely won't block line of sight or provide cover. I think you really need a LOT of line of sight blocking and cover providing terrain for Legion.

Terrain is of course a matter of preference, but I think as the game matures we'll see that it's more enjoyable (and some units and rules make more sense) with a proper amount of terrain density.

I couldn't agree more

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Infinity is a natural comparison due to the futuristic and/or sci-fi feel of the setting, but I'd rather hear from from some Dust: Warfare players as the Legion ruleset owes a lot to that game. What's an average Dust: Warfare table look like?

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3 hours ago, Brightguy said:

As an aside, I think this is one reason (of several) that the AT-ST is outperforming the T-47 most of the time.  The AT-ST wants long unhindered LOS, and it gets it.  They can usually fire Arsenal the whole game without moving.  The T-47 wants to cover and 1:1 matchups on weaker units.  It has nowhere to hide.

I just play against the RRG ad use my light woods as light cover, you can see in but not through.

Works great, as the terrain has an impact on the game with regards to what can and can't fire but leaves the maneuver element alone.

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Specifically, people need to play with more line of sight blocking terrain.

Also, stuff like forests and such should block LoS at least to stuff on the other side of it, and perhaps to anything beyond range 1. IE: If there is Range 1 or more of forest between the attacker and defender then LoS is blocked.

There should be portions of the table where you can't see further than range 1-2 from some locations. Likewise, there should be a few areas where you can see long distances as well.

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Holy crap this was eye opening.  

Allright, the picture below is an average amount of terrain I use in a game (on the green mat)

tNHZqgJ.jpg?1

The mat is only 3 square feet.

A 3x6 800 point game should be using 4.5 square feet of terrain.  I've only been using 2/3 of the terrain I should be using.

This picture includes:

Bunker (Battle Kiwi)

2 Landing pad stands (Battle Kiwi)

2 plasma generators (Battle Kiwi)

Shield Generator/Turbolaser stand (Battle Kiwi)

Scatter terrain (Battle Kiwi)

6 Barricades (FFG)

3 Moisture Vaparators (Imperial Terrain)

7 cargo containers (various type) (Imperial Terrain)

4 types of cargo pallet (Imperial Terrain)

Golan Arms Turret (Imperial Terrain)

Power Generator (Thingaverse)

Scatter Crates (dunno bought them for IA)

 

Edited by Zrob314

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5 hours ago, Brightguy said:

As an aside, I think this is one reason (of several) that the AT-ST is outperforming the T-47 most of the time.  The AT-ST wants long unhindered LOS, and it gets it.  They can usually fire Arsenal the whole game without moving.  The T-47 wants to cover and 1:1 matchups on weaker units.  It has nowhere to hide.

This also goes for anyone saying how Fleet Troopers will die before getting a shot off because they're only range 2.

As for myself, I'm working on laser cutting some terrain designed for Infinity. I'd also like to make some trees and such for light cover, but it's pretty daunting.

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Another Infinity player over here! Thanks for this thread, this is a great discussion to have.

Setting up a table is really an art unto itself. I strive for fire lanes of varying lengths and an asymmetrical table that doesn't necessarily favor one side, but makes selection of table side interesting. Maybe one side has a marginally better sniper nest, but the other side has marginally safer routes from some part of the deployment zone to the mid-field. Of course, this assumes you're not using the competitive placement rules. On paper, I'm not really a fan of those rules, but I won't knock them too hard until I've tried them.

I think Infinity is a great comparison due to the emphasis on objective play. Both of these games want to have enough terrain that units can maneuver toward objectives without being immediately annihilated. Although Legion can get away with a little less terrain. Having played Legion on a variety of table densities, I think the denser tables have led to far more interesting and engaging games. There are lots of decision points about how and where to create the engagements. On low-density tables the decision points were basically "ok, which one do I shoot now?", leading to the dice playing the game more than the players...

In my experience, I really think the vast majority of the 25% recommendation needs to be LOS-blocking terrain of varying heights with a sprinkling of area terrain. Toss in some barricades and other scatter in addition to that 25%.

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36 minutes ago, Jake the Hutt said:

The comments in the Fleet Trooper threads are what made me think people may be using less terrain than is ideal.

Exactly. They flat out don't understand standby or range two troopers and their use.

@Zrob314 I think you are still using more than most.

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1 hour ago, Mep said:

@Zrob314 I think you are still using more than most.

Oh, I do as well...if nothing else from seeing the tables people in my league are using or people commenting that I have enough terrain for two tables.

It's going to be interesting.  As it is I stop putting things down because it feels too full or crowded.  going to have to try to adjust my density level as it were.

Edited by Zrob314

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1 minute ago, Zrob314 said:

Oh, I do as well...if nothing else from seeing the tables people in my league are using or people commenting that I have enough terrain for two tables.

I's going to be interesting.  As it is I stop putting things down because it feels too full ro crowded.  going to have to try to adjust my density level as it were.

You actually have a pretty good set up there. I got even more of the imperial terrain stuff. The houses and the full docking bay. Still doesn't fill a quarter yet seems like a ton.

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yeah, I've also got the battlekiwi shield generator and the Disney popcorn at-at.  

Just feels weird that I potentially have to put ALL of my terrain out to get a truly legal table.

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Thank you for this thread.  As I've gotten games under my belt I've quickly realized how important good terrain is for an ideal playing experience.  Without LoS blocking and ample heavy cover the game can feel like a dice fest.  Ordered some gothic ruins sets (Pegasus), 1:53 scale AT-AT and X-wing (Revell) which I posed in a crashed position, and some Hoth turrets from Imperial Terrain.  In addition I've started making snowy forest patches for area light cover.  I've actually almost gotten MORE into working on terrain than my actual army (need to paint my snowtroopers still!)

I also DM a lot of D&D so my obsession with dungeon tiles and scenery set pieces really transfers over to this game.

 

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Where possible I try to get a narrative to the table. 

It looks a lot better when you have a small village with a main road through, the crops a short dirt trail away with the woods cleared to the verge of the farmland.  Or an imperial refinery with slag heaps to one side and a polluted river running through.  Just plonking terrain down haphazardly or trying to make it symmetrical just doesn't have the aesthetics of a wargame- there's no immersion. 

This does mean there's probably a slight advantage to one side or another but unless you're in a tournament, that's life (and from what I've read, war).

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