Terrain for the Bloody Big Battles! Langensalza scenario
using Hexon. This was my first attempt. There is room
Various options are discussed on the author's blog, but my immediate thought was to consider a modular approach that would both look good and be reusable for different battles.
My ideas eventually coalesced into three options:
Permanent tiles are an obvious option. I already have a collection of 1 ft (30 cm) square cork tiles which I use not only for grid-based games like Square Bashing but anything that requires a defined area measured in feet.
1' cork tiles with modular hills based on a 3" grid.
At first I thought BBB would require a grid with more granularity but after a great deal of time in CorelDraw overlaying a scenario map with geometric shapes, I concluded that a 4"/10 cm grid would be adequate.
The Gravelotte scenario using 24 bespoke tiles with
limited prospect of reuse. The modularity is illusory.
The illustration (right) is a screenshot from CorelDraw and shows work in progress. Each square foot would be a separate tile.
Inner corners could be rounded, but outer corners need to remain sharp to match-up with adjacent tiles. Straight lines are also easier to cut! It does look a bit stylised.
There is, however, a fundamental flaw in the tile approach. In particular, a large number of different tiles are needed to capture each required combination of 10 cm sectors, so modularity becomes somewhat theoretical.
It then occurred to me that instead of modelling each 30 cm tile with its own unique and permanently stuck contours, I could simply model the contour shapes and place them on top of the base tiles as required. Why use two thicknesses of cork permanently glued together when I could just add a single layer of cork shapes to the base tiles?
Gravelotte wih simple reusable
Modular shapes would provide a lighter and more flexible approach than complete tiles, but setting them up would be massive jigsaw puzzle. Some of the shapes shown in the picture (right) could be combined into larger shapes. Nevertheless, I think the effect would be rather ramshackle.
Hexon was another option as I already have a collection. Hexon hexes are 4" (10 cms) across, so converting a map is just as accurate (or inaccurate) as the above 10 cm grid approaches.
I now believe that Hexon is by far and away the best option although I hesitated a little at first because I didn't/don't have enough hills and because basic 6-hex Hexon tiles don't actually fit a physical 4' x 6' table without overlapping the edge or not meeting the edge. The most full-sized tiles you can fit on a 4' x 6' table is 6 x 5 in one orientation (30 hexes) or 8 x 4 in the other (32 hexes).
BBB is not a hex game so one doesn't have to convert everything to hex conformity. One big advantage of using Hexon is that it is easy to demarcate the very extensive wooded areas that appear on some of the maps. A hex has a tree or trees or doesn't. Smaller woods can be demarcated with felt templates in the normal way.
Langensalza in Hexon. Although some rubber streams arein use here, felt is the best option for streams and roads.
The Germanic-looking buildings in the photo (above) are wooden toys. They have a certain charm, especially when used in combination with the blocks. If using figures I'd replace them, but I'll leave the question of buildings to a future post in which I'd like to address the whole issue of figure and building scales.