Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The road to perdition

Scenery of the Day

Any good battlefield needs some roads, whether that be a Napoleonic battlefield, a DBA / HoTT game, or even Zombie blasting skirmish wars of the near future.

One can go to a great deal of effort and expense to put together superb roads for their tabletop ... but then the inevitable happens.

How to construct something that meets these wide range of requirements :
  • Flexible, to follow curved paths, and hill contours.
  • Not too thick, so it looks like a road on the tabletop.
  • Not so thin or flimsy that it gets knocked around on the board.
  • Has to stay put in the heat of miniature battle.
  • Has to still look like a road.
  • Wide enough to accomodate troops, but not so wide that the whole battlefield is covered in roads.
  • So cheap that you can stock up a massive pile of them for the cost of a beer.
  • Suitable for compact storage, and can be moved to friends houses, or gaming events without getting wrecked. 
Trying to meet all of the above requirements is truly walking the road to perdition.

OK, after trying all sorts of time consuming techniques, I settled on this method (for now)

Starting with a basic board, (in this case a board covered in special terrain carpet), layout the hills and rivers.

For the roads - I cut up strips about 1" wide from black non-slip mat, which has been dry brushed in a mix of greys and browns before being cut.
Now simply lay out all the roads, then add in the villages and woods. The roads are flexible enough to conform to the 'board' where there are hill slopes, and they stick very well to the carpet - they are not going to blow away in the wind.
Another shot from the worm's eye view - the non slip matting material is easy to work with, and makes for a very versatile and adaptable road material. All for well under the magic $2 mark ! Nice.


  1. Interesting idea; I use both manufactured ones, and also home made ones made of brown felt and then drybrushed with a "striped" pattern to give a green border and "tracks" down the center.

  2. Total cost on this board was well under $2 ... we were out for a bike ride one sunny afternoon and spotted huge amounts of perfectly good equipment and furniture piled throughout a whole suburb for hard rubbish collection.

    A long night of scavenging followed in the van, and we ended up with a great collection of useful things after that night. The carpet makes for really good hills.

    These cheap and nasty flexible roads are the only roads I have in my collection that actually conform to the contours of the battlefield, so for me they work better than the 'good' ones.