A small campaign map made of 50 × 50 mm, 50 × 25 mm and 25 × 25 mm PlanIt-Grid magnetic mapping tiles which correspond to full scale wargame terrain modules. Each tile carries a small serial number to identify the club member who owns the actual terrain module, and who needs to remember to bring it to the upcoming game. The magnetic tiles are placed on the back of a metal clipboard so that the assembled map may be picked up and placed face down on a photocopier later. Thin magnetic markers representing woods, hills, enclosed fields, built-up areas, bridges and defensive works are superimposed on the map. These pieces, too, correspond to actual terrain items used in the game. Once the magnetic map is completed, colour photocopies of it are handed out to participating players. Interestingly, the map doubles as a travelling wargame, using 2 mm figures and vehicles on magnetic bases.
Tools & Materials
- PlanIt-Grid(TM) Mapping Tiles
- 10 mm Chipboard
- 1.5 mm Posterboard
- Model Buildings
- Model Trees
- Cellulose Ridges
- Interior Filler
Scale model terrain needs to be sculpted realistically enough to please the player, and it must be safe for figures and vehicles to stand on. The classic sandbox meets both requirements, but it is usually reserved for professional strategists who have access to military training facilities. Simulations gamers want to be able to transport their terrain to club meetings, and they need to be able to store it easily when not in use. The cheapest portable terrain system is an olive green army blanket with books underneath and model railroad terrain pieces on top. The next step up is a permanent table with sculpted hills and other items arranged on it in changing patterns.
Modular terrain with roads, ditches, rivers, fields, rolling hills, and other realistic features may be a simulation gamer’s dream come true. If the landscape is modelled true to 1:72 scale, a typical platoon attack corridor would be 2.75 m wide and 14 m long. Few gamers have that much space available, but modular terrain can be used to create the impression of unlimited depth: Terrain tiles which have already been fought over are picked up behind the line and placed in the direction of attack again. Another advantage of modular terrain is that the members of a club can easily put a large landscape together when they pool all available modules.
One advantage of the metric system of measurement is that it creates compatibility automatically. No question: Anyone building modular terrain tiles will be compelled to base his terrain on the square meter or a fraction thereof. It’s entirely up to the modeller to decide which size of grid he prefers, but his tiles of 25 × 25, 25 × 50, 50 × 50, 50 × 100 or 100 × 100 cm will be immediately compatible with other metric tiles. The same is true of the corresponding cartography tiles which are modelled in 50 × 50 mm squares and sections thereof.
The classic chipboard is ideal for our purposes, even a thin board does not warp easily, it’s cheap and lightweight. Thin chipboards are available in 8, 10, 13 or 19 mm thickness, and the most likely candidate is the metric board: 10 mm. We use chipboards with laminated plastic surfaces, because they do not absorb any moisture from the PVA glue and interior filler we will use to decorate them.
- Rolling Terrain, 100 × 100 cm
- Roadside Farm, 50 × 25 cm
- Road with Telegraph Line, 50 × 25 cm
- Dirt Road, 50 × 25 cm
- Dirt Road and Farm Track, 50 × 25 cm
- Road, 50 × 25 cm
- Intersection, 25 × 25 cm
- Village Square, 50 × 50 cm
- Variable Stream or River Section, 50 × 50 cm
- River Mouth, 50 × 50 cm
- Small Harbour, 50 × 50 cm
- Landing Beach, 50 × 25 cm
- Trenches, 25 × 50 cm
- Polygonal Redoubt, 50 × 50 cm
- Defensive Positions, 25 × 25 cm
- Gatehouse and Palisade, 25 × 25 cm
- Corner Tower and Palisade, 25 × 25 cm
- Flank Tower and Palisade, 25 × 25 cm
- Fields, 25 × 25 cm
It is important to remember that most roads are not perfectly straight lines across the countryside. Only a few isolated road modules should be used outside of villages, and they can be connected with flexible latex road sections to break up the unnatural grid system.