Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Terrain: Malifaux Style

In an effort to get our Malifaux games to the next level of awesomeness, I'm embarking on a terrain quest. Terrain is far more important in Malifaux than in any other miniatures game I've ever played. Coming from Warmachine predominantly, but also Dropzone Commander, Warhammer, 40K, and so on, terrain was essentially window-dressing and an afterthought. For Malifaux though, it dramatically swings the balance of the game. After playing the first couple games of our campaign, it became painfully obvious to me that I needed to do some research as well as some terrain building. The first step was to tap into my primary resource for Wyrd stuff: A Wyrd Place, the completely awesome Facebook group of Wyrd players. This is hands down my favorite miniatures game Facebook group due to the positive attitude and helpful nature of everyone on it. In addition to getting several good insights, I got links for some excellent resources. First I'll share the resources, then the remainder of the post will be a summary of all the stuff I took away from all the helpful comments and resources that I read.

Fantastic pinned post on the forums - Has great visuals. Fantastic first place to start.
Terrain is a Big Deal in Malifaux - Great article on Pull My Finger. Incorporates stuff from the forum post along with other great material.
Chronicles of Breach Fighters - Fantastic Facebook page of battle reports, showing lots of table configurations. Perhaps even more fantastic just for the ideas of terrain pieces to build.

What I learned from all this...
* Always discuss the terrain up front before starting the battle to ensure no confusion later on.
* Terrain should cover 30-50% of the table. Test this by collecting it all into one solid section at the start.
* 3 important types: Cover (to curb shooting), LOS blocking (to curb casters), slow/block movement (to curb melee). Balancing these is important.
* Don't use hills, except near the edges of the board. They don't fall into any of the 3 important types and end up introducing elevation. Elevation itself is tricky, and will need house rulings to be workable.
* There should be little to no direct LOS from 1 deployment zone to another. Maybe 1-2 narrow lanes.
* Terrain in the center of the board is good, whereas along the edges is not as useful.

Now it's time to build some terrain! I'm finishing up a bunch of pieces (which I'll post during the coming days), but doing this research was helpful. Next I'm going to take a close look at which of the 3 categories each of my existing terrain supplies fall into, and see how much board coverage capability I have. In the mean time, here's some ideas I have for more terrain projects:
* Sign posts
* Low hedges
* Gravestones / open graves
* Archway opening to a graveyard area
* Large spooky tree

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