How do you go about designing good miniature terrain to conduct battles on? Is there a process you can or should follow? When trying to answer these questions I tend to examine what others do and then apply it to my own design process.
Below is the design process that Battleboards.co.uk follows when creating their boards. The finished products are wonderful set pieces for miniature games, however, as I said earlier I’d prefer small tile-able terrain that is easily packed away. However, the design on paper, refine on computer, before committing to physical thing is a excellent fundamental practice.
I tend to start with sketches on paper, as I build up the idea. That way bad or ill considered ideas can be left, and any potential problems can be found before building a large expensive mistake.
It’s something I remember from Engineering, that for a $1000 product if you catch a defect after the sale stage it costs $2500 in product recall and such. But in the design stage it’s $0.03
So it pays well to deeply consider how to design anything, and in this case miniature terrain. They can be broadly split in to the two groups of form and function. Form or Aesthetics is the consideration of the look of an object, where Function is more focuses on it’s operation and use. A good place to start are Design elements and principles, and the Engineering Design Process.
There are a bunch of things you should think about before making or buying terrain. These questions should be focused on things like;
- How you plan on using it?
- What your budget it?
- The time needed to make it or acquire the parts?
- What scale of miniature is it designed for?
- And others I can not think of at this point…
So for this project I’m setting out what I’m aiming for.
- Storage. Do to limited space I need to be able to easily store the parts
- Quality. I want have it look good and to make good stuff, because If I can help it, I don’t want to do it all again, or to spend time repairing it.
- Scale. I play Warmachine, Warhmmer40K, and Patherfinder/D&D amoung others. All of which tend to be 25-28mm scale.
- Variability. I like to be able to mix-up my terrain to suit the individual situation or scenario, because I get bored easily with the same tactical battle.