Friday, July 6, 2012

Random Terrain Generator for Wargaming

(The link for the pdf of this generator is at the bottom of this post)

I've played a lot of Flames of War over the last few years and have major reservations on how people create the game table with terrain.  Too often, I've seen some rather crazy stuff thrown on the table.  This all came to a head a few months ago when I faced a Russian army on a table covered in trees.  Now I know the Russians in WWII did fight in forested areas, but not all the time.  Most of us who study history have a picture in our heads of great tank battles being fought on the grasslands of the Ukraine, you could see the horizon in all directions, and a tree would be an anomaly.  If you ever driven thru western Kansas you know what I mean.

I've noticed since then that most people design there tables in a very predictable manner.  A terrain feature in the center of each quadrant and then another feature or two in the center of the table.  Most people would consider a terrain feature to be a hill, forest, pond, building, plowed field, etc, etc.  We could spend all day naming off various features that we might put on a table.  But, inevitably, no one will think of one of the most common features.  Can you guess it?  I eluded to it in my picture of Russia.  It would be the open field.  The open field has been in more battles in history than anything else.  Yet, it's treated as a pariah by Flames of War players.

There are two reasons for this. One, people have poor tactics.  They depend on the terrain to cover their bad play.  I ran into this when I place one Jagpanther on the table and my opponent immediately cried cheese and wanted to put more trees down because of it.  When I asked why, he said that it's range could reach across the table!  "OK" I said, "but you have seven tanks to my one.  Yeah, I might get most of them, but you stand a good chance of beating me in the end."  I don't think he heard me.  He was sure I was being cheesy.  Needless to say, I was annoyed.

The second reason, and this one applies to me, confusion about the scale.  Before Flames of War, I was an American Civil War and a Napoleonic period wargamer.  I was use to playing games at the division an corp level.  At that scale, 12 inches between forests could equal anywhere between half a mile to two miles or even more.  In Flames of War that same 12 inches is more around 100 to 200 yards.  For me, I've never played at the company level before and it was hard to visualize what a battlefield should look like in that scale.

Anyway, that brings me to the point of this post.  I've spent some time trying to find a random terrain generator on the web that I could use.  I did find a few, but none fit my needs.  So, when I had some free time at work over the last few months, I designed my own generator.  It's in a pdf file which I will post here.  I think it's pretty straight forward.  There are 6 pages with different open field densities to help create a more realistic table (at least realistic to me.)  Then each page will have boxes numbered between 1 and 97.  So all you do is roll 1d6 to pick which page to use then roll 2d10 to determine which box to use.  Whatever box you roll will be the top left of the field.  If you roll of 98, 99, or 100 then check the description on the right of the page for your terrain.  It's designed for a 6x4 foot table but with a little thought, it should work for any size table.  I hope you can find it useful.

Here is the link:

Just click on file and then click download.


  1. Sir, you are a genius.
    I absolutely love this method for creating terrain, easy and brilliant.

  2. Brilliant! Thanks for sharing. Will be trying it out tomorrow.

  3. Thank you for this - I have been noticing the use of more and more terrain in my games (different game system), and for an army that will almost always outnumber my opponents models to the ratio of 2:1, 3:1 and against specific armies 5:1 or 6:1, this has been a huge problem. I was looking for some inspiration for a different battlefield and the idea of fields is one that is so obvious that I hadn't considered it.