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 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'.
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!
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 6x4' battlefield.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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).
Additionally, Armorcast has a wide selection of buildings that are all under $30, which are right at home on any fantasy table.
Lastly, from Warlord Games, you can get a set of 3 ruined farm houses for only $56.
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.
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.