If you intend to host sand-table wargames like the popular Warhammer, having a good gaming table and the kit to go with it is a must. Your table and collection of terrain and buildings are at least important as the miniatures that comprise your army. Every Warhammer gaming group needs at least one person with a good table set-up to hold games. Follow this guide to assemble a good gaming table on the cheap.
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Things you need
- Table of suitable dimensions
- Green mat or sheet
- Terrain and building pieces
Acquire your table. A good table should be large and rectangular, but not so large that some part of the surface area is out of reach of an average-sized person. It is awkward when players cannot reach a part of the table that might have to be traversed by a Warhammer unit. An old ping pong table is ideal; or you can put together a couple of smaller, cheap tables. If you need to build a table, a pair of old sawhorses and a light plank of plywood cut to your needs will do nicely.
Choose a mat for the table. An olive-drab-style green is the typical colour to choose, but if you are going to stage a lot of desert or winter games, you may want a different colour, or perhaps even more than one mat. Purpose-made grass mats are available at hobby stores that sell terrain features for model train collectors, but a bedsheet or wool blanket can be pressed into service on your Warhammer gaming table.
Fashion your hills. A Warhammer gaming table requires flat surfaces for its massed ranks of warriors, so you cannot simply shove books under your mat to create hills. Take flat styrofoam boards, shape them into the contours of your hills, and paint them green (or any other appropriate colour). Cutting the sides of the boards so they slope, and gluing the fake grass available at train hobby shops to create the appearance of rough brush, can add a realistic appearance to your hills.
Be creative. These parts can be stacked (progressively smaller hill pieces upon larger ones) to create larger, dominating hills or simple knolls as necessary. You can use this method to create permanent terrain features, such as a three level hill with one flat side representing a sheer cliff face.
Create other natural-terrain features. Pebbles can be used as boulders on your Warhammer gaming table. Train and hobby stores will sell lichens that can be used as shrubs and hedgerows, and trees that can be set out either individually or assembled into forests. Cuts of carpeting or AstroTurf can be arranged to represent a farmer's fields or a meadow of tall grass. Blue felt can be cut into shapes and used to simulate streams, ponds or even a seashore.
Fashion your man-made terrain features. Cuts of grey felt can be used to simulate roads. Twigs can be glued together into split-rail fencing pieces. Small, flat pebbles can be glued together into stone walls. Prowl yard sales and flea markets for old toy parts that can be put to work as cottages, towers and walls. For example, Mattel's old Castle Grayskull play set (from the He-Man collection) can, with a little work, become the Dark Gate centrepiece for any number of scenarios.
Tips and warnings
- Many miniatures companies also sell replicas of houses, castles and the like, but these are very expensive. You are better off cobbling together your own table terrain features and saving your cash to add new pieces to your army.