The portable wargame: A ‘country’ to fight over

As I had about half an hour to spare, I decided to see what the new cork hills would look like alongside some of the other terrain I intend to use with my vinyl chessboard.

The buildings are from my collection of ‘Town in a bag’ buildings, and the trees are from a range made by Essex Miniatures. I used blue masking tape to create a river, and cream masking tape for the roads. The latter does not show up very well on the tan and green vinyl chessboard, and I now realise that I will need to find an alternative method to show roads and tracks.

All-in-all I now feel that – with the exception of the roads – I have almost got the ‘look’ of the terrain right. As H G Wells would have termed it, I now have a ‘country’ over which to fight my battles.

18 Comments on “The portable wargame: A ‘country’ to fight over”

  1. Looking great- well done sir!

  2. David Crook says:

    Hi Bob,That looks really nice – with all the feel of the terrain and none of the associated hassle with ultra-detailed examples which are invariably too intrusive. I know that nature is not always so accomodating to the miltary but for gaming purposes this is absolutely bang on the money and I am looking forward to replicating something similar myself.Jolly good show!DC

  3. Tradgardmastare,Thanks for your comment. I must admit that I was quite pleased with the end result.All the best,Bob

  4. David Crook,Thanks for you very complimentary remarks.It may not look super-realistic, but as you wrote, it is intended to be used for a game and not to be a diorama.Good luck with creating your own version; it is not very difficult – or too expensive – to do.All the best,Bob

  5. Ross Mac says:

    I like the rounded edges on the cork hills, gives just the right effect. Are you giving road movement a bonus? If not, do you need them? If so I have found gaffer's take in suitable colours. all looks good and very interesting. I look forward to seeing a game in progress.Ross

  6. Ross Mac,When I made the first of the hills I did not round off the edges … and they did not look right. Sanding them to round off the edges took more time then I expected .. but it was worth it.Roads do allow Units to move at twice the normal move distance as long as the Unit stays on the road for the complete move.Thanks for the link. I will see if I can find that product – or something like it – here in the UK.With luck I should be able to fight a play-test battle this weekend.All the best,Bob

  7. Bob, what would a double thickness of the road tape look like?Would it make it look better?– Jeff

  8. Bluebear Jeff,It might do, and I will certainly experiment with your idea. The only drawback I can see is that it is such a similar colour to the lighter shade of grid square that it may still not be distinct enough for photographic purposes.All the best,Bob

  9. Chris says:

    Bob,Craft stores here sell masking tape in a variety of colors, including dark brown. That might fit the bill.All I need to find on THIS side of the pond is a "town in a bag".Best regards as always,Chris

  10. arthur1815 says:

    Bob, The overall effect is very pleasing. I would suggest, however, that the rivers would look better if you could contrive to create curved, rather than right-angled, bends. This would also distinguish rivers from roads.Aother thing you might care to experiment with is painting the hills different colours, in the manner of atlas maps, to indicate different heights.The game looks far more attractive with some scenery: more like a wargame in its own right than merely a speciality chess set.Arthur

  11. jfidz says:

    Good looking board Bob.Have you looked at Japanese Washi tape? It's a kind of masking tape that is available in a wide range of colours and patterns. You can even get it from Amazon.

  12. Chris,Thanks for the tip. I will have a look for something similar in the local Hobbycraft store next time I am there.I am surprised that 'Town in a bag' sets (or something similar) is not available in the US, as they are a fairly generic wooden toy. If there is some way in which I can help, I will try. A set costs about £5.00 in the UK, but the postage would probably double the cost to the US.All the best,Bob

  13. Arthur1815,Thanks for your comments. I totally agree that the whole thing looks a lot more wargame-like now that I have some scenery on the chessboard.I did try to 'curve' the blue masking tape as I stuck it down on the vinyl chessboard, but it looked more than a little unsightly. Until I can find a way around the problem, I will have to keep to my right-angled river turns.I may well colour the tops of the hills in some way in due course, but for the moment I intend to leave them as they are. I need to find a way to apply colour that will not cause the cork to warp. Water-based paints and glues have done exactly that on previous occasions, so I have to find something that will not have that effect on the cork.All the best,Bob

  14. Jfidz,Thanks for your kind comment.I have never heard of Washi tape … but it sounds like the tape that Ross Mac and Chris recommended. If it is available via Amazon, it will be a lot easier to get hold of.Many thanks for the tip,All the best,Bob

  15. arthur1815 says:

    Bob, Another solution to the river curve problem might simply be to draw the rivers on with a blue washable marker pen, so they could be wiped off after a game. Dry-wipe markers would run the risk of rivers being deleted accidentally!Alternatively, you could make up river lengths and curves out of blue sugar paper, and fix them to your chessboard with strips of double-sided sellotape – now I think of it, you could do the same with the roads…Arthur

  16. Conrad Kinch says:

    We've been using blue paper cut to size quite successfully for games of this sort. Since your "country" isn't particularly large, you could quite easily make bespoke rivers out of sheets of blue A4. We use pastels, usually white or light blue, to add rapids, fords, etc.

  17. Conrad Kinch,That sounds like another vote in favour of the paper river option.All the best,Bob

  18. Arthur1815,As usual you have come up with a very workable solution to my problem.I had considered using Blu-tac as an alternative to your suggestion of double-sided Sellotape, but my wife suggested removable glue spots. (She uses them to fix things in place in her dolls houses; they can be left in place for a long time, but when removed, they leave no marks.)What I like about your suggested solution is it's simplicity and it's low cost. This project started out as a low – even no – cost project that used bits and pieces I had lying around in my wargames room, and I have suitably coloured paper or card in my office.Many thanks for your excellent solution.All the best,Bob

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