After my friend James came by last week and we fought the battle of St. Mikhail's, I had a look at the table afterwards at the table we used and was dismayed at how flat it was. I even got a carpenter's level and the bubble was dead in the middle. So flat! St. Mikhail's must have been located somewhere in Saskatchewan!
Recently there was a thread on the Too Fat Lardies' Yahoo group about a chap who used a bunch of heavy blankets to add texture and contours to his wargaming table. This was a somewhat more substantial procedure than just draping a thin sheet of green cloth across some books. So I started with some books.
I then took several old quilts and blankets and spread them over the table, trying not to smooth and straighten them too much - this image isn't super helpful but it conveys the general idea.
Once I had the quilt and blanket scrunched into some contours, I overlaid them with the sheet of fabric I usually start with and then started adding terrain features. These led to some actual contours, such as folds in the ground and dips in this road leading to a village church.
Or, on the other side of the church, a field of wheat that actually follows the side of a hill, rather than looking as flat as the Canadian prairie (which is actually not as flat as one would think).
A small side road with sufficiently high banks and hedges to conceal a section of infantry moving tactically.
The table in its final form. I am pleased that the final look isn't so deadly flat. While the church in the centre still dominates, there is enough dead ground around it to make approaches possible for both attackers and reinforcements sent to its relief.
So apologies to those of you for whom this is not especially novel or profound. I am rather like the Irish novelist George Moore, of whom Oscar Wilde once quipped that he conducted his education in public. To me at least this is a bit of a breakthrough in table design. I have just started using this layout for a solitaire run through of the new Too Fat Lardies rules, Chain of Command, and I hope to have some results and thoughts to share with you by this weekend.