With all the fantastic GW terrain coming out these days, more and more 40k boards are skewing towards Cities of Death style boards. But the good old wilderness board can pack just as much variety and for much cheaper when you make (most of it) yourself.
The Humble Hill
Ah the humble hill, once a staple of every board before GW began producing there fantastic terrain. I hardly see these when I go to a gaming store or GW these days. Even my friends seldom feature this super versatile piece of terrain on their own boards. But this thing can really bring a lot to your game. First off your standard foam boards from which these are typically made are thick enough that you can easily hide some of your units out of LOS behind it. Also by simply arranging a row of loose rocks you can instantly make this thing into a bit of area terrain as well. The 3-inch level between the board and the top of the hill also makes making a charge a bit more difficult. Furthermore its broad surface and elevated position gives you better than average LOS. Finally these things couldn’t be easier to make, definitley a staple of any wilderness board.
This thing gives you a lot of what your typical ruined building does. First off its a big piece of LOS blocking terrain (no need to board up those 1st story windows!). Its multiple tiers give you a variety of views around the board and again, simply lining up a few loose stones and lichen and you’ve got a really nice big piece of area of terrain as well. Visually it really gives a lot of dimension to board, making little peaks and valleys between terrain pieces.
The Modular Wall of Stone
Another essential for any wilderness board. I love using these type of pieces to string across the middle of the board in a sort “broken line” type pattern to break up the firing lanes so shooting armies are forced to move around a bit to get angles. They are also huge impassable pieces meaning units like Knights have to move around them. They aren’t so big that you can hide a Knight behind them, but they are big enough to easily hide any Leman Russ, Wave Serpent or other large vehicles.
The Big Ol’ LOS Blocker
I think the title says it all, but having a massive piece of LOS blocking terrain is huge. This can really even the odds for fragile codices or even just fragile units that can often be eaten alive by the crazier shooting armies out there. This is a piece you gotta be a bit careful with when setting up a board as it can give a massive advantage to one player or the other. But placing it in neutral ground in the middle of the board gives both sides a chance to hide behind it, even from the position of their own deployment zones.
Variety of Area of Terrain
While not DIY, some easily placed surface level (non-multi-story if you will) area terrain pieces are very important, not only for game purposes but also visually as it creates a lot of character on your board. I’m particularly fond of craters (I usually forgo the actual crater rules) as they are easy to get models in and out and can really help establish the narrative of an ongoing war, especially when the craters are slightly overgrown.
That being said, no wilderness board is complete without a few tree stands. These things can be a major pain to play with, but they are such a classic you gotta drop at least one on your board. Visually they add nice variety and give you a chance to splash some color on to the board.
If you guys like the look of my terrain I wrote an article awhile back on how I made it. Its a very simple process and I go into a fair amount of detail. The sample piece is one of my mountain and you can read how I did it: here.
So hope that gave you guys a few ideas for some new terrain pieces to cook up and show off a bit of the variety a wilderness board can have. You can make all of this stuff (except the craters and trees) from a single sheet of foam board and have an entire tables worth of terrain that you can whip up quickly and cheaply.
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