Saturday, December 11, 2021

Jungle terrain and jungle rules, now fully pictured!!!!!

 While working on my Vietnam project (and greatly enjoying that) I came to the realisation that my jungle terrain needed an upgrade. I made it about 10 years ago, at great speed as usual at that time to make a deadline for a project, and I simply didn't think it looked good enough. 

Empress Seal and SOG figures

I decided to re-purpose the materials I used then. And since it not only needed to look good but also needed to work well in games I tailored my terrain to some ruleset-agnostic jungle rules. Or the other way around. I don't really know. It kind of grew naturally, just like real jungle 😎


I had already developed a preference to jungle terrain placed on the table in small terrain pieces. That way figures could be moved around, terrain pieces could easily be removed to reach the miniatures and a table filled with them would still look sufficiently forested to resemble a jungle.  

Real jungle, of course, cannot be represented on a wargames table and still be practical. It is a dense and nearly impenetrable mass of vegetation rising up from the ground in multi-layered canopies, only sparsely criss-crossed by wildlife trails. 

So I aimed for something that would be playable and as good looking as possible. It is well known that an ugly figure on a beautiful base looks better than a beautiful figure on an ugly base. So I aimed for great looking bases to put my old palm trees and fishtank plants on. 

I started by making 30+ 6mm MDF bases in various sizes. I used pieces of tree bark (you can buy that in huge bags to use as ground cover in your garden) dried in the oven as rocks, glued to the bases. Admittedly, at this stage this had an uncanny resemblance with cat turds.....

Then the bases were covered in structure paint (a mix of paint and sand and tiny pebbles) and subsequently painted them in browns and greens, then highlighting them in sandy brown. The tree bark bits were painted dark grey and highlighted in light grey and white.   

I made a bright green flock mix and stuck that to the bases with PVA glue, tossing in some bright red bits to represent flowers. That finished the bases. 

I sorted out all the stuff I had left over from the old terrain as well as everything I had collected over the years "just in case". It seemed waaaay too much at the time, but as it turned out I used nearly all of it.

Then I distributed the trees I had and stuck them to the wooden bases using iron wire pins. I filled up the empty ground level with fishtank scrub and all kinds of cheap plastic plants and fishtank stuff to represent the undergrowth in a jungle.  

Then I finished it all by spraying browns and greens to subdue the bright plastic colours. 

Distributed on the table, it represented relatively well a wide stretch of vegetation covering the table in large and smaller clumps, interspersed with paths. I think it looks pretty good! 

Ruined Buddha temple by

Making rules

Game-wise, I think jungle should do a number of things it also does in reality: 

  • It should obscure sight, totally in some places, partly in other. 
  • It should hamper movement
  • It should offer plenty of soft cover in most places and hard cover in some
  • One should be able to place and move figures in and through the jungle
So the terrain should make clear in an easily visible way where and when it does all this. I used the terrain pieces to do this and will use the Spectre Operations rules as an example.  

  • A terrain piece represents dense jungle
  • Figures can move on a jungle base as through Difficult terrain (Move Agility inches in Spectre for example)
  • Figures can move all over a jungle terrain base but can only be placed where their base fits. Some bits of jungle are simply impenetrable. 
  • Figures can Hide anywhere on a jungle base. 
  • All views on a jungle base are obscured (All (additional) Range Intervals for ranged attacks into or out of jungle terrain pieces in Spectre are 1" for example)
  • Spotting rules on jungle terrain pieces use Night rules
  • Jungle terrain pieces offer 1 additional point of protection to all figures on it against all hits by ranged attacks (Wound roll -1) 
  • Off Table Assets cannot aim for targets under the jungle canopy i.o.w. on a jungle terrain piece. They can however target a point on the terrain piece as per normal rules. Every Hit still scatters D6" in a random direction.    
  • A "path" between the jungle terrain bases represents relatively thin forest. Perhaps a cleared path, empty waterways or a game track. 
  • Paths are clear terrain for all purposes. But mind that the jungle terrain pieces still add all their effects as soon as lines-of-sight of firing lines move into and through jungle terrain pieces. 

Slightly converted HobbyBoss Huey with Empress gunners

Senior Game Requisite Advisor Boom! comes for her customary inspection. Fortunately, she approves.