Getting a Grip on 6th Edition: Terrain

What's wrong with this table?

It contains six fine pieces of terrain: lovely ruins with some LOS blocking that allow 40k to be played in three dimensions.  It's more terrain than I ever saw on a table in a 5th edition tournament.  The terrain has also been arranged in a relatively benign manner so no possible deployment zone benefits more than another.

So what's wrong with it?

 It is wholly inadequate in terms of 6th ed. terrain.  Allies and Flyers are getting all the press these days, but it's the new terrain rules that I think people will have the hardest time implementing.  "Terrain Density" dictates that every 2'x2' square of a table receive d3 pieces of terrain.  So an average table should have twelve pieces of terrain.  They don't have to all be cool ruins as you see above--forests, statues, rivers, area terrain (craters, wrecks, etc.), and unoccupied fortifications are all on the terrain palette.  So take the above table and add six more pieces of terrain to it.  I like terrain, but in my experience many tournament 40k players have always treated it as a nuisance.  Players are eager to start using allies and flyers, but who cares about terrain?

We all should.  For starters, you're going to need some place to hide from all those flyers zooming around the table with their square flight paths.  The change to a 5+ cover save should also be understood in the context of increased terrain: cover saves are poorer quality (and the new focus fire rules allow you to go after troops in the open) but should be easier to find.  Because cover saves are 5+ now players may now be more welcoming of LOS blocking terrain.  The new deployment types also increase the importance of terrain--who wants to walk the length of a table without lots of terrain?

Terrain is also important because of the new rules for fortifications.  Players alternate placing terrain after fortifications are down.  This means that you can place pieces of terrain in such a way that your troops have a modicum of cover as they approach my Fortress of Redemption.  

Terrain is not glamorous--it's a tedious part of organizing a tournament and it presents practical obstacles in terms of transportation.  I think TOs right now would have a hard time finding and transporting 12 pieces of terrain per table.  There's a 24 person 6th edition tournament coming up at Gamers World in September.  I don't think even the largest shop in Ireland has enough terrain to put down 144 pieces (average of 12 pieces x 12 tables).  In the short term an increase in smaller, poorer quality pieces may be needed.  In the medium term people are going to have to build more terrain (and take better care of the terrain in existence).  Either that or sparse terrain will be the uncommented upon survivor from 5th edition.

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