Terrain is HUGE for wargaming. The entire atmosphere can shift based on what you put on the table while the mechanics of the game would be identical if you used random stuff from around the house and tokens for characters. When you have a full painstakingly built city to fight over it makes the whole game feel more immersive.
I originally got into the tabletop hobby at the age of 14 or 15. At that time, we bought our minis and played at a little gaming store called Odyssey 2000. This store had the typical gaming store terrain. Ruins, flat boards, some scatter terrain and all that. Playing at home is another matter. We had VHS tapes, mugs, salt and pepper shakers and just whatever we had on hand. It was a completely different experience. I got back into tabletop games when a group of my friends dove into Dungeons and Dragons around 2010. In 2012 I started dabbling with terrain, building little bits of terrain for our games and instantly started to get the terrain building bug. I dabbled for years but only started getting heavily back into it in 2017 when I was tossing around the idea of writing Anthems of War.
Because of my TINY addiction with terrain crafting I have a large section of the spare room in my little condo dedicated to terrain supplies, totes of finished terrain and all that wonderful stuff. Most of it can be seen in sections of the Anthems of War core book or in the gallery section of the website. At the same time, I know not everyone is as fortunate as I am to afford the supplies it takes to build a full set of terrain so I still play some of my Anthems of War games on tables with very minimal supplies. The Anthems of War book is littered with photos of my terrain with a few pieces from a guest photographer. I eventually want to publish a few tutorial blogs here about building specific types of terrain, maybe matching it to some of the scenarios in the book.
There are SO many resources for terrain crafting out there. My personal favorite is actually one I started in 2018, the Tabletop Crafters United discord.(Invite link) This is a go to spot for any questions I have and over the last year it ballooned beyond my expectations. At the time of writing this the discord is over 550 members strong. There are also a handful of YouTube channels I love that I will post at the end of this blog post.
No matter what your terrain preferences are there is always a way to add style to your games. You could lean heavily into papercraft terrain, using your local print shop to do color printing on card. You could even hand draw on paper and use it to make stylized terrain to fit your table. 3D printing is another great option. There are a ton of really cheap printers that are extremely high quality. The Prusa Mini has all the bells and whistles you’d need to get started with terrain printing and retails at 399USD. Cheaper if you buy it as a kit instead. 5 years ago at that price you were getting the most budget, low end printer on the market that you would have to spend hours and hours tinkering with. My personal favorite of course is still scratch building. You may spend more time and the materials may be more expensive but honestly not by much. There is a certain level of joy and fulfilment that comes from building something cool with your hands and placing it on the table. Even with a small skillset the terrain you can build with basic supplies will surprise you!
As always, go visit all of my socials, like and follow for more updates. Links in the footer. Below are some of my favorite terrain focused YouTube channels. Go show them some love. In most cases they probably don’t even know my little game exists and how much I get out of their content