Making Battlefields on a Budget!

Everyone loves playing their wargames on beautiful battlefields, which really brings the game to life.  The real question though, is how do you make a […]

Everyone loves playing their wargames on beautiful battlefields, which really brings the game to life.  The real question though, is how do you make a great looking game board on a fairly limited budget?

The Board Itself

First up, we need a surface to play on, and my buddy Reece over at Frontline Gaming has the perfect solution!  Reece has kickstarted a large, very high quality gaming mat, which only cost $90 each for a 6′ x 4′ and $65 for a 4′ x 4′.

frontline_matt

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/819121569/frontline-gaming-and-tablewartm-megamattm

The Basics

Any good battlefield is going to need a few simple things, namely hills, woods and barricades, so lets find some good options for those first!

Woods

Absolutely the least expensive woods I’ve found are from Scenery Express, which carry a set of 25 trees with bases that are 3.5″ to 6″ tall for only $21.98… yes, that is less than $1 per tree!  One package of these super cheap trees is more than enough for your typical 6×4′ battlefield.

sceneryexpress_woods

http://www.sceneryexpress.com/3-6-TALL-HARDWOOD-ASSTMNT_25-PIECES/productinfo/NH26301/

 

Hills

Amera produces quite a lot of inexpensive terrain, including hills which are under $10 each.  They do require flocking and painting though, but for a low price tag, it’s not that bad at all.

amera_hill

http://www.amera.co.uk/product.php?range=f

 

If you want something a bit more sci-fi, Micro Art Studios produces a set of 3 Crate Heaps for only about $33, which is slightly more than the Amera, but they are quite a bit more sturdy, and look spectacular when painted.

MAS_crate_heap

http://www.shop.microartstudio.com/crate-heap-set-p-455.html

 

And if that doesn’t always work, you can get a hot wire cutter for about $30 from Blick Art and make your own out of some insulation foam!

blick_foam_cutter

http://www.dickblick.com/products/marvy-uchida-super-hotwire-foam-cutter

 

Barricades – Renedra Limited makes quite a lot of inexpensive terrain, but if you’re looking for some appropriate fantasy barricades, their Wattle Fencing is quite inexpensive, for under $10, you get 29″ of fencing!  Seriously, that’s over half way across a board.

renedra-Wattle-Fence1-Lrg

http://www.renedra.co.uk/webstore.html

 

If you need something a bit more sturdy, then I suggest you check out Armorcast.  They produce a variety of walls (and other terrain) which all run for about $6-$10 per set (each set is about 16″-18″).  That’s a very reasonable price for some resin terrain!

armorcast_pipes armorcast_sandbags armorcast_walls

http://armorcast.com/store/index.php?cPath=25

Buildings

For some fantasy buildings, I again have to recommend Renedra!  For $30 you can get a beautiful medieval cottage, which also comes with some fencing, or a Ramshackle Barn and American Church (which would look quite at home in an Empire village).

renedra-Medieval-Cottage-Lrg

 http://www.renedra.co.uk/webstore.html#Buildings

 

Additionally, Armorcast has a wide selection of buildings that are all under $30, which are right at home on any fantasy table.

armorcast_building

http://armorcast.com/store/index.php?cPath=121_66

 

Lastly, from Warlord Games, you can get a set of 3 ruined farm houses for only $56.

warlord_hamlet

http://us-store.warlordgames.com/collections/bolt-action/products/ruined-hamlet

 

If you need some nice science fiction buildings, then you should look again at Amera for your solution… Their buildings are often less than $25, and can be quite large, perfect for some central, LOS blocking terrain.

amera_ruins amera_factory

http://www.amera.co.uk/product.php?range=z

Overview

I think that if you are very budget minded, you could actually get a totally acceptable gaming table for about $200-$250, depending on where you source your pieces.  Keep in mind that this is for a table of terrain, not a table of cans and books!  For that price, after you’ve built your main army, it isn’t a bad idea to get a table together.

 

About Adam B

I've been at this for 20 years now! You can find me playing Infinity (USAriadna and Combined) mostly, and sometimes Heavy Gear, Necromunda, or Test of Honour. Also, I love miniature board games like: Blood Bowl, Warhammer Quest, and Space Hulk, plus Aristeia and Warhammer Underworlds coming soon!