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Pre-set terrain

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:05 pm
by hazelbark
So several people have mentioned pre-set terrain.
One we can pretty up our battlefields and they do need it.

I like the idea, but what is a fair way to set it up?

What do you tell the players to expect?
Do give them sample maps?
Do you give them any ability to modify slide terrain?

One advantage is to just say something like no terrain will be wide open steppes. A foot army will have something to secure one side on. Pick your army accordingly?

What are people's thoughts?

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 8:20 pm
by philqw78
Speeds up game start. Winner of PBI picks own long edge and deploys/moves first or hands it over.

There would need to be a mechanism were players do not play on the same table again.
There must be a mix of terrain types.

Go through the tables between rounds
Roll 2 D6 at each
2 Desert
3,4 Steppe
5 Developed
6-8 Agricultural
9 Forest
10, 11 Hilly
12 Mountain
make something legal and looks nice
Would only take a minute a table

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:11 pm
by ravenflight
hazelbark wrote:So several people have mentioned pre-set terrain.
One we can pretty up our battlefields and they do need it.

I like the idea, but what is a fair way to set it up?

What do you tell the players to expect?
Do give them sample maps?
Do you give them any ability to modify slide terrain?

One advantage is to just say something like no terrain will be wide open steppes. A foot army will have something to secure one side on. Pick your army accordingly?

What are people's thoughts?
The only thing I'd say about preset terrain is ADVERTISE IT EARLY.

To me, the person who takes a +4 initiative Steppe army should know from the start that they are not going to use that advantage. If they THEN choose a steppe army that is their choice.

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2013 10:50 pm
by jorneto
Much needed decent looking terrain and it is one step to shorten the game duration.

The Spanish club of Sevilla used pre-set terrain a few years ago and it was well received.
They had themed pools of 8 players. 5 tables were prepared for each pool:
1 light – steppes
1 heavy – mountain or hilly or forest
3 average – agricultural or developed

Players were paired and throw for their initiative score. Tables were then chosen by each pair winner and by the order of its score.
The initiative loser was allowed to change one piece of terrain as per the rules.

In the following round they had to chose a different table.
Further, in the second day each player pool was rotated to a different group of tables, again to avoid repetitions.

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:29 am
by ethan
Especially for a themed tournament, I don't think you need to be "fair" in terms of the pre-set terrain. If you want to have a classical Hellenistic theme, make tables conducive to that, advertise it early and be happy to you have done something to make the theme armies have a better chance. If you want to counter-program the Hellenes and run Numidians or Parthians, you are free to do it, but don't whine that there aren't any open tables for you. Equally, if you want a Mongol or steppe theme, lots of open tables. I see this as a real plus of pre-set terrain.

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 5:33 am
by ravenflight
ethan wrote:Especially for a themed tournament, I don't think you need to be "fair" in terms of the pre-set terrain. If you want to have a classical Hellenistic theme, make tables conducive to that, advertise it early and be happy to you have done something to make the theme armies have a better chance. If you want to counter-program the Hellenes and run Numidians or Parthians, you are free to do it, but don't whine that there aren't any open tables for you. Equally, if you want a Mongol or steppe theme, lots of open tables. I see this as a real plus of pre-set terrain.
Agreed... if advertised early. What my earlier post was in regard to a comp several years ago where I took a Steppe army and designed it so that it would have a fairly good chance at winning initiative. To then be told 'we're doing preset terrain' 15 minutes before the comp started... well, I wasn't happy, and the organisers (rightly imho) went back to 'full rules'. Had I taken a steppe army to a comp advertised as 'pre-set terrain', well, I would have gone in knowing and accepted it.

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:09 am
by marty
Pre-set was the standard in OZ for many years in 7th and Warrior. Made things quicker and only ever generated the most minor of complaints.

I'm finding V2 significantly quicker anyway but it wouldn't hurt for it to be even more so.

Martin

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 6:43 am
by IamJacksUsername
Everyone at the club I play at likes V2 a lot but the general feeling of terrain set up being a bit laborious is still there, especially given that it requires both players so one player can't get there early and set up a table.

Has anyone had any problems with pre-set terrain? Is there anything we should avoid? How do you get around one person having a high initiative modifier army and the other a low? This doesn't guarentee they'll win the intiative. Anything to speed up this process would be great. If there's no big problems I might float this idea to the other guys.

Martin

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 4:13 pm
by mbsparta
We always use pre-set terrain for our games. But we rarely play in tournaments. We try to set up a battlefield that is (1) represntative of the location we are battling in (2) does not offer a significant advanatge to either side. This Sunday we are fighting a Peloponnesian battle; Athenians vs Spartans. I will set up the battlefield with ... a Temple (village), an olive grove or two and maybe a coastline with a trireme sitting off the coast. We will dice for table sides (un-modified) and once situated then dice for initiative. This works for us, for historical or semi-historical battles.

I have played in themed tournaments (Successors comes to mind) and each player was responsible to bring and set up a battlefield that respresents terrain typical for that Successor army. I was Late Macedonian and set up a Greek style battlefield. The tournament organizer assigned tables and opponents based on the previous game results.

The Flames of War tables, at least here in the US, are gorgeous. Each table beautifuly detailed and there are lots of them. Everything from Monte Cassino to a German Airfield in France. How the FoW folks assign tablse is unkown ... but they have a lot of players and a lot of these tables. I saw a DBR tournament report where they used historical battlefields as the templete for pre-set terrain.

Terrain set up using the FoG rules (or DBM or whatever) are a distraction from the game for me and IMHO contribute to players not finishing games or games not being fun.

If I was running a FoG tournament I would set up the tables ... and randomly assign them to players.

Mike B

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 8:47 pm
by zoltan
Another advantage of pre-set terrain is that it enables organisers to dress the tables in an attractive way to entice newcomers. Some of our longest serving hobbyists still use discraceful looking 'terrain' that would make Donald Featherstone, Charles Grant et. al. turn in their graves. I'm sure the founding fathers always saw the look and layout of the table to be an essential part of the hobby.

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:41 pm
by hazelbark
mbsparta wrote: I saw a DBR tournament report where they used historical battlefields as the templete for pre-set terrain.

That was Dave Clarke with 2x2 maps of basically ECW battlefields for condescended DBR.

I was talking to my local FOGN group and there were so keen on pre-set that I am now determined to try it. Maybe we can do this for Cold Wars.

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:04 pm
by mceochaidh
I am all in favor of this. Setting up terrain is (imho) the worst part of the rules.

Mac

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2013 10:07 pm
by IanB3406
Lost Battles gives the terrain set up for 40 Historical battles, and these could randomized. Depending on if these are selected before or after army list selection players will at least have an idea of what to expect.

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:01 pm
by mceochaidh
FOG PC could also be used to generate terrain. It takes into account most factors used to derive a terrain set up in FOG TT.

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:36 am
by KiwiWarlord
mbsparta wrote: I saw a DBR tournament report where they used historical battlefields as the templete for pre-set terrain.
The DBR Tournaments at Cancon in Canberra, Australia, have had pre-set terrain based on historical battlefields for many years.
I have played there and find that the terrain is nothing like a normal 'rule book set-up ' but the idea works for most players and saves set-up time. I have no problem playing with pre-set terrain,in fact a couple of us at my local Club were toying with the idea of running a Club FoG AM Comp based on pre-set Terrain. As some others have pointed out the main problem is adequate notice.

Brian

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 9:55 pm
by jorneto
Our last tournament in october was run with pre-set terrain. You can peek here http://www.ajsportugal.org/ (but forget the ugly guys that appear in every picture!)

It was a one day comp with 3 rounds of 650pts and table size of 150x120 (or 5'x4'). Time for each round was 2h30.

In the end everybody liked the format with some of the tables showing better than usual terrain (still much to do on that field).

Also, with the terrain done, the games were effectively shorter with about 50% games ending with an army break. That compares with the rather low 20% of our "normal" tournaments.

Recommended.

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:56 pm
by philqw78
jorneto wrote:Our last tournament in october was run with pre-set terrain. You can peek here http://www.ajsportugal.org/ (but forget the ugly guys that appear in every picture!)
You are right pre-set terrain normally looks better and reduces game time.

But I don't think I'll ever wipe those ugly faces from my memory

Re: Pre-set terrain

Posted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 9:26 pm
by ravenflight
philqw78 wrote: I don't think I'll ever wipe those ugly faces from my memory
Have you tried bleach?