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Playability Verses Realism.

These two things are in many ways opposites, and a proper balance between the two must be achieved for good terrain. Everyone has their own opinion on where that balance point should be. We here at 18Charlie generally lean more towards the practical side of the spectrum than the realism side since we make terrain intended to be used in games. Wherever possible we try to strike a balance between the two, but we often find ourselves changing our initial (and often more ‘realistic’) designs drastically to fit the tabletop.

To make these latest set of buildings we had to make a lot of modifications to the design to make them more game play friendly. Since they were intended to be used as Tau buildings they were originally supposed to have domes on top. Unfortunately domes are very hard to play with since models tend to fall off of them. Consequently we went with a much more flattened (and therefor more blocky looking) design style. In the interests of uniformity we have carried the blocky look into the balconies as well. This gives the structures a more coherent appearance, but does greatly lessen the Tauishness of them.

The structure on the left represents the more realistic approach to the problem with a domed top on the building. The one on the right is the more playable version of the same structure with the dome flattened out for maximum playing surfaces. This provides a space large enough for vehicles to be placed on the roof without having them fall off.

We have additionally chosen to make the parapets of the structures very wide. This allows us to place models on the parapet itself, which allows for some more flexibility within the game. Playing games on a table with very large structures creates multiple levels of play and the ability to move from the roof of one building to the roof of the next becomes very important. This has a lot to do with building placement, but having wide flat parapets makes it much easier to place models too.

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Ultimately whoever is making a piece of terrain must decide for themselves where that proper balance point is for them and the way they play games. No matter what you choose to do some will love it and some will hate it!



4 thoughts on “Playability Verses Realism.

  1. I find some factions are harder to achieve realism than others. Imperial buildings (and chaos buildings) tend towards a blocky structure on which models can easily be placed. Tau, as described, have a more rounded appearance for their buildings. Eldar, dear to my heart, have tall spiralling buildings that are wholly unsuitable in terms of playability if they are built realistically. I find that unfortunate since they are my faction. So, would you have any advice on how to do Eldar-y buildings that are playable?

    1. I have a few ideas, but need a little more information from
      you on what exactly it is you are looking for. Do you have any pictures of the specific
      features you are talking about? I unfortunately can’t be sure that we are
      thinking about the same thing without a picture. Are you talking about
      something like this, or do you want something taller? If you like that style of structure then it
      should be fairly easy to scale it up into larger structures.

      1. Sorry for the late reply. I finally found the picture I think explains what I mean. The scenery you posted is good, but not quite as Eldar as this.

        1. If you want to go full on Craft World then you have a very
          big job ahead of you. However if you just want something smaller but similar
          than it shouldn’t be all that hard. I think that the basic design for the terrain
          from Miniature scenery is actually fairly close to what you are looking for.
          The problem is in the materials that stuff is made from. Everything looks too
          flat and thin because it is. If you slathered on the wood putty and then sanded
          everything smooth to give it a more rounded and organic look it would look considerably

          As far as getting more height personally I would start with
          a central core of PVC pipe and glue a lot of organically shaped buttresses, arches,
          and trusses on to it. If blended all together smoothly with some wood putty it
          should give you the desired look.

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