Many of my Crossfire posts come from email discussions with Dick Byrant. Recently he asked “do you generate scenario maps for your players to plan from in your games”. I do. Drawing a Map is a key part of my Scenario Design for Crossfire.
In a recent email exchange Dick Bryant asked:
Out of curiosity, do you generate sceanario maps for your players to plan from in your games or do you just have them sidle up to the table and work it out from there?
Why I provide Maps
I always have a map – lately I using PowerPoint for drawing maps.
Here are four reasons I provide a map:
- Map design is integral to Scenario Design; maps provide a lot of flavour
- Having tried lots of plotting hidden deployment mechanisms the easiest is plotting on a map
- It increases consistency between re-plays of that scenario
- I like drawing maps
But the Table is different!!
Dick elaborated on the cons of using a map:
I always have done the former [provided a map], but it always ends up being a real pain in the neck (actually I have a much lower opinion of it).
No matter how I try, my terrain doesn’t fir the map or visa versa and I get no end of complaint that ” this wood should be 2″ closer to this one”, or “This rough area is mach larger than on the map” , etc.
I play with the caveat that the table terrain governs, no matter what the map portrays – as in real life.
My group make every effort to match table to map, but, as Dick pointed out there is never an exact match and table must triumph over map when there is a discrepancy. Unlike Dick, I’ve never had complaints from my players. The map is a convenience and nothing more.
In one, recent, notable, and now infamous incident (in Village P – A Crossfire Battle Report), we even introduced a new wood feature that significantly affected the game.
The Village-P map:
The Village-P table. Notice the “mysterious wood”. We discovered this in the game – to my detriment as it happens. But such are the fortunes of war.
More commonly lines of fire change because the terrain is slightly different. Again, this due to the gap between pre-battle information and reality.