An empty terrain template does not a depression make
When I’ve had to place a Depression on table I’ve taken the easy way out and just used a terrain template with no terrain on it (the photo is of one of my FOG templates). This approach has the advantages of being cheap and easy (very easy) but lacks a certain visual impact. The major draw back is the “depression” is raised above the ground and looks remarkably like a very flat hill. And sometimes I suspect my opponents just think I’ve run out of trees. Which I haven’t – I’ve got tons of trees.
Given that experience I figured, for a Crossfire Depression, I could just make a big fat round gully. So that is what I did.
Instructions for a big fat round gully, I mean depression
Here are the steps:
- Cut a piece of hardbard into a circle; the smooth side is the bottom and the rough side the top (it makes gluing easier)
- Trim the top edge of the hardboard to about 45°
- Cut a piece of 5mm foam core into a O shape to fit within the hardboard; the inner circle will become the depressed part of the depression
- Trim the foam core so the outer edge is gently sloping and the inner edge is steep; I’ve got a short craft knife with a short blade so I couldn’t help but make this very rough
- Glue the foam core to the top of the hardboard; I just used wood glue with a heavy book on top to keep it flat while it dried
- Tidy up and smooth out the slopes with wood filler and let it dry
- Flock with your preferred style – in my case Flat Earth and Dry Brushing and Noch Static Grass; notice I left the inner slope of the Depression without lighter dry brushing to suggest shadow
The Judges’ decision
I think the end result is alright. We play tested the depression in our Village P game. Looked the part and did it’s job. Not perfect, but alright. At least as a playing piece.
The Depression feature fits all the requirements:
- Sits on a flat table
- Suggests depth
- Has a clear lip to be “on” or “beyond”
- Has an area where stands will be “in” the depression
- Big enough to allow other features to be placed inside, e.g. a Wood or Rough Ground
My brand new Depression does suffer from one major draw back. It looks like a crater impact zone that has grown over. Small price to pay I guess. Definitely a step up from an empty terrain template.
Another oddity is that the rim of the depression is not the edge of the feature. Although this is obvious to players it does invite comment.
Has to be said, my mate Chris is a huge fan of 3D terrain based on hexes. A depression with that wargaming technology would pose no challenges.