First of all, a major shout out to our loyal fans who have now pushed us over 18,000 views! :) Seeing the interest you all are generating in our site keeps us going, so thank you for that, :) I thought about not doing another scenery post (as I'm badly wanting to get some battle reports in), but as we head into 10 days before the TMAT Grand Tournament, I thought it would help you all (and the other competitors) to see some of my ideas for an urban combat board. After hours of painting, lots of shuffling things around, and carefully measuring out parameters for how the scenery would work, I came up with a rough sketch that will serve as a guide for how the field could be setup for a tournament game.
For the walkthrough today, Captain Terrek and his troop of Osgiliath Veterans have graciously allowed me to use them for demo purposes, and they will be joined by random members of my Chill of Angmar list (just to spice things up). I hope that you find this walkthrough helpful for how I'm envisioning the dynamics of the board to work.
Setting: The forces of Good and Evil have been locked in siege combat for weeks. The final assault is approaching, and victory will be determined within the rubble. The camera pans back for a wide shot:
And we have what remains of the town! As you'll notice, I varied the board into a more "open" section (the lower half) and a more "closed" section (the top half), to give outlets for various styles of play, depending on the force. The five warriors at the bottom also show you the length of the coffee stirrers that you'll see in the post: they are around 5.25" long (almost 5.5").
As you can see, the board does not use all of my terrain pieces. I've set aside various pieces either for other boards that may want some additional flavor, or in case we believe that the scenery is too sparse, and we would like more walls. All of the pieces except for the smial could work in this scenario, so we have a lot of options. The board is setup with the following parameters in play:
- Scenery is 8" away from the left and right board edges, and 4" away from the top and bottom board edges (which you can see from the tape measure in the first picture)
- A wide road (at least 4" wide) goes cleanly through the center of the city, giving ease of access for mounts of almost every size (we'll talk about Mumakil in a bit)
- The bridge is in the center of the map
Other than that, I didn't give myself any parameters in how to plan the city. For this setup, I decided to create four separate segments of town. We'll go around and view each part in turn:
1. The Courtyard
The courtyard represents one of the most open portions of the battlefield. The battlements of the barracks look down on the courtyard, and the space would be a terrible place to be caught in a firefight. The barracks, on the other hand, is quite the contrary.
2. The Barracks
The chances for fighting on the battlements, on the ground level, around the rubble, and from the bridge gives this section of the board the most opportunities, and a small chance for fortification against the other sections of the board (if you can seize it). From below, someone on the battlements easily gets a cover save; almost nowhere receives a cover save from the LOS of the battlements.
Since these guys were in the shot, I thought I'd zoom in on my newest additions to my army: my Orc Trackers. I had fun painting these guys, though I'm at a loss for ideas on customizing, as they are pretty straightforward poses.
All of the statues in the town, by the way, are 18" apart (more or less; I had to move one because it landed it in a precarious position on some brickwork), which would mean that they would be closer to each other than your normal Domination game if we did it in the town (though, I'd argue, that would actually play well to the strengths of this type of map). For non-Domination games...this just means that you have statues about 18" apart, :)
3. The Bridge
What is more, you'll notice that both sides of the terrain pieces are open, like an aqueduct: this allows swarm armies to still employ their strategy, helping to alleviate any advantages that may come from restricted deployment. Obviously, there are some tactical advantages to marching large hordes of guys down Main, but my intent is to keep it from being overpowering and "unfair" to non-spear and non-pike civs. Feedback would be wonderful.
My thinking is that if this were used as a domination game, both the units below and on the bridge would count as within 3" of the objective, forcing more combat over the center objective than just fighting over the bridge. In an Arkenstone game, I figure that the measuring would work similarly. In a To the Death scenario...I expect generals to do whatever pleases them on, over, and around my bridge, :)
4. The Marketplace
5. The Manor
You will also notice near the bottom left of the screen a small tower of sorts: this is conveniently large enough for bases to sit on (max two, if you remove the barrel), to provide just enough of a perch for an archer to cover the bottom section of the map, and can also support into about half of the bridge (and naturally all of the battlement on the southern approach to the bridge. The wall is not so high to provide cover for the archer (unless he's kneeling), hence the barrel.
So, anyway, those are my ideas for an urban board: still room to maneuver phalanxes of infantry and units of cavalry, but more restricted, and with set lanes for archers (rather than a clear field). Now, if you bring a Mumakil to war here, I'll be honest: you'll likely be stuck primarily in that 8" section on either side of the board. That said, 24" will cover past the bridge on either side, and there is no cover from the howdah LOS on either side of the board. This means you likely won't be able to use your trampling ability, but you should still get some work out of your units on the oliphant. If you're unhappy with that, we can talk about how to rearrange the map...or I'll just be honest: you ought to know better than to try to navigate a mumak in a town, :)
One of the things I like about this map is that it is full of options. There are innate advantages to heavy armor civs, archer-based civs, horde civs, hero-based civs - you name it, and they can be combined to both assist each other and used against another force if planned correctly. But those advantages can vary in their effectiveness based on the scenario, giving an extra set of wonder to what will transpire within these battered walls. I suppose only time will tell.
Until that time, may you remain, as ever,
Watching the stars,
"We watch the skies for the great tides of evil or change that are sometimes marked there." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix