I think I worry too much about how my games look. On the one hand I want simple functional terrain. On the other I want a master piece that looks like those in the magazines and at the top shows. I think I will always end up tinkering and seeking the ideal, yet always falling short of what I am aiming for.
Currently I use a Games Workshop grass mat with Terra Firma Studios roads, felt templates for towns woods and fields and trees from various sources. The grass mat is nice but is to my eye just too 'green', if you know what I mean. The uniformity of the green isn't very realistic, but short of a custom made set up, you have to put up with it.
Differnent people have different needs from scenary. With the resurgence in 'Old School' wargaming this set up from Phil Olley reflects a bygone era with boards painted green and not much more effort.
And then there is the other extreme, with this custom built set up for a 'Tet Offensive' Vietnam game. Beautiful but beyond most people for a club night game and not much use for fighting Napoleonics on.
So I have set out to tart up my scenary whilst keeping it functional. Now Peter Pig rules use a template system to represent dense terrain that causes problems for troops entering. Woods, buildings, marsh and the like are represented by either felt or wooden shapes around 8"x5" onto which trees and houses are placed which can be moved aside when troops enter them. Felt and the like are ok but thrown onto the table as they are they can be a tad plain. My templates are a combination of felt and pieces of the GW grass mat left over from cutting it down to 6'x3' which is the table size for most RFCM games. This afternoon I tried out a test piece by adding dabs of brown and green paint, sand and various flocks and foliage. This example is a bit over done as I was experimenting with various techniques but I think it looks rather good. The reds and yellows are from a pack I bought from Timecast scenary and are intended to represent wild flowers. I hope to use it to brighten up my Samurai army bases. This could be a wood template or an area of rough ground.
Encouraged I moved onto the mat itself. Although not the best angle, I have added areas of darker static grass, brown paint and flock and sand in places to break up the uniform look to the mat. I am really pleased with how it has turned out and intend to do some hills in a similar style, along with a load more templates.
I also have a GW mat cut down to 4'x4' for PBI which will be tarted up in due course. At some point I intend to build a custom board for a Marston Moor game, but for now for club night games these fit the bill nicely!